Program Promotes Wellness, Disease Management for Seniors

NORTHAMPTON and AMHERST — Jeanne Ryan, executive director of the VNA & Hospice of Cooley Dickinson, has announced a new program called Cooley Dickinson Geriatric Services.

The goals of the program are to address the complex needs of older adults, focus on health and promotion, and prevent and manage diseases and disability in the over-55 population.


Beth Warner, the program’s medical director, is fellowship-trained in geriatrics and is board-certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative care. Warner began seeing patients in her new practice July 5.

Warner says the program is a “consultative service” to a patient’s primary care provider that helps older adults maintain their independence and vitality. Warner and her staff work closely with area primary care providers, social workers, visiting nurses, and other health care and community resources in the areas of dementia assessment and management, falls prevention and assessment, and those who are facing complex decision-making at the onset of or during advanced illness.

“Many people seeking geriatric consultations are over age 75; however, I see many younger people struggling with memory loss, severe chronic illness, and a decline in their ability to function,” Warner added. The program is designed to support the patient, their care team, and their family.

Family members who are taking care of their children and older adults are referred to as the ‘sandwich generation.’ According to the Pew Research Center, about one in eight Americans age 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans age 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to more than 70 million. These caregivers often find themselves without sufficient support or guidance when making decisions with their older loved ones. A consultative geriatric service can help to prioritize health-related goals, assess and manage memory loss and frailty, and access community resources.

Warner sees patients who are hospitalized at Cooley Dickinson as well as in outpatient clinics at the hospital and at 100 University Dr. in Amherst. For more information or to make an appointment or a referral, call (413) 582-2595.

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