Dr. Stephen L. Winters is an electrophysiologist with Atlantic Medical Group who’s treated patients with cardiac rhythm problems for more than 30 years. He’s also a devoted son to his parents, Stewart, 94, and Blanche, 96, Holocaust survivors who are fiercely independent and lived in their own home in New York.
“My dad speaks 10 different languages and is extremely intelligent; he used to regularly complete The New York Times crossword puzzle. But I realized things were becoming more difficult for them to manage,” said Dr. Winters.
When his father fell and faced ongoing mobility challenges, Dr. Winters wanted to respect their need for independence but saw they required more assistance.
He found them an accessible apartment nearby so he could visit frequently.
Location problem solved, Dr. Winters then turned to their other needs. “I knew the team of specialists at the Geriatric Assessment Center, part of the David and Joan Powell Center for Healthy Aging at Morristown Medical Center, would help me find the right care,” he said.
The center evaluates each older adult’s medical and psychosocial requirements as well as their abilities and limitations. Team members develop a comprehensive plan to address individual needs and provide information and support to help patients and caregivers plan for their future.
“It’s important for me to give my parents the best quality of life possible,” Dr. Winters said. “Having a geriatric assessment done helped me see where they needed help and find the right resources to provide it.”
Dr. Jason Prager, a geriatrician at the Center who leads the couple’s care team, prescribed intensive physical therapy for Stewart to regain mobility and wound care for Blanche. The center also provided information about resources for other care providers, including visiting nurses, to help his parents stay safe and well at home. “I was impressed with the wonderful humanistic and perceptive care of the entire care team,” said Dr Winters. Dr. Prager and Dr. Winters remain in routine contact to address the couples ongoing medical needs.
“As an electrophysiologist, I treat patients every day for irregular heartbeats. But as I saw my elderly parents struggling with health issues, my own heart skipped some beats! I turned to the experts at the Geriatric Assessment Center, got the care my parents needed, and now can rest a little easier.”
Editor’s note: Sadly, Blanche Winters passed by the time this article was published. But Dr. Winters felt it was important to share the rest of Blanche’s story. “Mom declined quickly, and we collectively decided hospice care would be needed,” he said. The team at the Center was wonderful in preparing my family for what was ahead. I felt supported throughout the entire process and was able to be there in every way for my father and the rest of my family.”