George S Custom Care For Older Adults

"You sign up and they’re going to give you the royal treatment."

George Shave, 82, of Tinton Falls, didn’t expect to become an ambassador for a medical practice. But he tells everyone he can about the care he receives at the James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC). Now Shave’s wife, Kathleen, and other members of his family also receive care at the Geriatrics Institute.

Shave, who owned a successful insurance brokerage firm before retiring in the 1990s, became aware of the Geriatrics Institute’s program several years ago when he had a gastrointestinal health crisis and was taken to MMCSC’s Emergency Department. He was so impressed with his care that he and his wife later returned with boxes of candy to thank the hospital’s health care providers. That’s when Shave heard about MMCSC’s geriatric program. “I thought, ‘If they treat me as well over on that side of the fence, I’m going to be a really happy person,’” he says.

A Focus On Living Well

Like many older adults, Shave faces multiple chronic health challenges, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and elevated blood platelets, and is on a number of medications. Due to heart disease, he’s had angioplasty to clear blocked arteries and stents to keep them open, so he requires close monitoring. “When you reach a certain age, some of these issues just start showing up,” he says.

Abhijit Chatterjee, MD
Abhijit Chatterjee, MD

Shave appreciates how providers at the Geriatrics Institute respond quickly to any concerns he might have. When he calls the office on a given morning, “They say, ‘Can you be here at 9:30?’” he says. “Within 10 minutes of arriving, I’m seeing the doctor. And when I come in, they’re happy to see me. You start feeling a little better because you know you’re in good hands.”

“One of the best things about our practice—what patients rave about—is that we respond right away,” says Abhijit Chatterjee, MD, a geriatrician at the Geriatrics Institute and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. This allows the clinic to address health problems early and take corrective action before things take a turn for the worse, he says.

Shave developed close friendships with the clinic’s providers and office staff. “Some patients enjoy their visits not only because their medical issues are addressed but also because they meet with friendly people and have a good outing,” Dr. Chatterjee says.

The Geriatrics Institute takes a multidisciplinary approach to care. Physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists, audiologists and other care providers collaborate closely to address patients’ often complex needs. Through the free senior membership Better Health program, available to men and women 55 and older who want to improve their health, older adults can also participate in activities such as tai chi, dance and cooking classes that keep patients active and engaged, to the extent pandemic restrictions allow.

“We have a comprehensive geriatric program that doesn’t just focus on disease,” says Dr. Chatterjee. “We also prioritize the general concept of living well, helping older adults be functionally independent, safe and able to maximize their abilities.”

In some cases, that means helping patients find ways to adapt to age-related changes. “For certain situations, care can mostly be about reassurance,” Dr. Chatterjee says. “Sometimes the best advice is just to take it easy.”

Spreading the Word

Her husband’s experience soon led Kathleen, 78, to start seeing Dr. Chatterjee for a different set of health problems, including arthritis, neuropathy and general aches and pains. At Shave’s urging, his brother, sister-in-law, sister and mother also have sought Dr. Chatterjee’s care. “We think Mom may be healthier than we are,” Shave quips. “She only takes one medication.”

“George is a very loyal patient,” says Dr. Chatterjee. “He not only has recommended us to family members but also a few friends and neighbors. He goes around spreading the good word.”

“I tell people, ‘Listen, they are wonderful over there,’” Shave says. “‘You sign up and they’re going to give you the royal treatment.’ In the insurance industry, companies can have ratings like B, A or A-plus. I’d give MMCSC an A-plus-plus. You can’t do any better than that.”

Learn more about the James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus or call 732-886-4700.