Dr. Alan Siegal is all about communication.
That’s why he’s determined to work with his patient’s primary care doctors and other specialists — and their families — to formulate a memory care plan that helps seniors suffering from cognitive disorders, such as memory loss or depression.
“The goal is a change in behavior,” said Dr. Siegal, who has partnered with the Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center to establish a Geriatric Assessment Center. The center offers comprehensive care to seniors with cognitive, memory and emotional problems.
“A lot of the time it’s a lack of interest in other people — social isolation,” he said. “I hear a lot from concerned sons and daughters who have parents that are acting confused or detached. It’s a very bad dose of reality and it’s very hard but there’s always something we can do to make it easier.”
Dr. Siegal, who has a background in geriatric psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, believes the campus that the Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows share on Danbury Road in Wilton is the perfect location for his center.
The process begins with an evaluation to determine memory impairment, dementia, anxiety or depression.
“Sometimes it’s a combination of memory functioning and depression,” said Dr. Siegal, who has been treating residents of the Greens at Cannondale for the past four years — and now serves both buildings.
The center, which is founded upon the belief that every individual is both unique and complex, works with patients to promote, support and enhance their ability to achieve and maintain maximum independence and quality of life.
They achieve this through clinical services such as individual or group therapy, medication management, competency assessment, and family counseling.
This is where communication can be the key that unlocks an unforeseen solution.
“The Baby Boomers feel quite comfortable talking about their problems and what they’re feeling — it’s easier for them, but it’s a struggle for their parents,” he said. “Too many say, ‘I’m fine,’ and they’re not worried.”
It’s not the only place where transparency is a concern.
“The biggest frustration in our field is that doctors don’t talk to one another, and that’s why we work with our patients primary care doctors and their specialists,” Dr. Siegal said. “It’s very important that every doctor in their life knows the medication, and knows the diagnosis...
“Unfortunately, we’re not at the point as a society where cognitive screenings are normal at primary care offices — and it’s not their fault.”
The final step — education and training services — can be the most challenging.
“How do they get needs met without someone acting as their advocate?” asked Dr. Siegal.
“The days of being watched after by a village are long gone,” he said. “But we want to facilitate that process, and make their lives easier. We see patients as long as they need our services.”
For more information, contact Senior Executive Director Ron Bucci at 203-761-1191 ext. 11 or firstname.lastname@example.org.