Senior Care Center opensBy Justin Nyberg
The San Mateo Medical Center today opens the door on the most comprehensive medical care center for seniors in the county and the Bay Area.
It is a place for seniors of all income levels and all levels of independence and health to receive one-stop medical care tailored exclusively to their needs.
"There are many physicians who provide excellent care," said Dr. Susan Ehrlich, director of the center. "But none provide the kinds of services we will have available to [seniors] here."
Whereas at a doctor's office, elderly patients might be seen for a single medical condition, at the new Ron Robinson Senior Care Center they will have access to a team including a geriatrician, psychologist, nutritionist and social worker that care for them with the perspective of several disciplines.
The reason is simple: Seniors have many needs. Many over the age of 65 are still independent, active and healthy. However, time has taken its toll on others. The stairs are harder to climb. The mind isn't as crisp as it once was. Combined with conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's, social isolation or poverty, patients can need a team of specialists to determine their problems.
To underscore the point, Ehrlich described her recent experience with a 65-year-old patient, who claimed during her normal doctor's visit that her neighbors were trying to harm her. The woman could have been suffering from psychosis, or the story was true, or both.
At the new center, the woman would be seen by the psychologist to determine her level of mental acuity, a social worker to determine her living situation and whether she could be referred to Adult Protective Services, the county's elder abuse prevention department, located just steps away from the new center.
There are about 88,000 San Mateo County residents over age 65. When the county's population is expected to grow by about 15 percent by 2025, the number of seniors will increase by 58 percent, according to Ehrlich.
"There is a big need for what we are doing here," Ehrlich said.
Copyright ©2004 Peninsula Examiner. Published 03/15/2004.