Cedar Village launches wellness program to keep older adults healthy, active

To improve the lives of older adults in Greater Cincinnati, Cedar Village Retirement Community in Mason will be providing assessments to the public that are designed to detect health issues in older adults as early as possible.

A team of experts who specialize in health problems in older adults will conduct the comprehensive health and wellness examinations. A University of Cincinnati physician who specializes in geriatric medicine, a registered nurse, occupational therapist and physical therapist will be on the team. Other health professionals will participate, as needed.

The goal of the VillageCare Geriatric Assessment Program will be to identify problems and provide treatment to keep older adults as healthy, active, safe and independent for as long as possible. The program also is designed to help families negotiate the potentially challenging task of providing care to seniors.

“The impact of these assessments can be enormous,” said Dr. Vijaya Reddy, the physician who will perform the assessments. “If we diagnose early, we can start treatment early, which could allow the seniors to stay in their homes and continue to go about their daily activities, safely and independently.”

When health conditions are diagnosed late, treatment options become limited and potentially less effective. A late diagnosis also could limit which living arrangements remain appropriate, possibly requiring the senior to move to assisted living or a nursing home.

For people who are concerned whether their parents should be living alone, the assessments can provide objective answers from experienced professionals. If a problem is detected, the team can help the family devise a medical treatment plan as well as a plan for living arrangements. After the assessments, a written report will be provided.

Dr. Reddy will check individuals for health conditions such as depression, dementia and delirium. She will perform a detailed medical history, review medications and make a diagnosis.

Physical and occupational therapists from the Cedar Village Rehabilitation Center will focus on concerns such as the individual’s balance and gait to assess the likelihood of a fall. Injuries from falls can drastically change the course of a senior’s life.

The therapists also can administer driving assessments to determine whether seniors are safe to be driving. The driving assessments can be included in the overall assessments or provided separately.

The assessments, which will take at least two hours, will be held Monday mornings at Cedar Village, 5467 Cedar Village Dr., a quarter-mile from Mason-Montgomery Road in Mason. Most major health insurance plans will cover the assessments.

Appointments can be scheduled by contacting Cedar Village at 513-754-3100 and asking about the VillageCare Geriatric Assessment Program or emailing Rebecca Mastalerz at rmastalerz@cedarvillage.org.

Dr. Reddy has seen the life-changing difference a geriatric assessment can make. She recently had a patient in her early 80s who was living by herself. Her family was concerned about her because she didn’t always seem alert.

Dr. Reddy performed a comprehensive assessment and found problems caused by the medication. She ordered a change in medications and the patient became more alert again. With Dr. Reddy’s consent, the patient continued to live on her own and kept driving.

Family members, who lived in another town, were relieved. “Their burden was lifted. They didn’t have to worry about her,” Dr. Reddy said. “It’s a huge success story.”

Dr. Reddy is a geriatrician, which means she focuses on the care of older adults. She is board-certified as a geriatrician and internist, and has more than six years of experience in geriatric medicine. She practices at the UC Women’s Health Center in West Chester.

She completed residencies at Michigan State University-Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan and the Lutheran Medical Center-State University of New York in New York City. She also completed a clinical fellowship in geriatrics at the Indiana University of Medicine in Indianapolis. She graduated from Kakatiya Medical College in Warangal, India. She is fluent in English, Hindi and Telugu.

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