The Optometric Minute

5 Ways to Make Your Practice Better for Senior Patients

March 11, 2020

The senior population is growing fast. Nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population are now seniors, according to the most recent Census. Here are tips on how to make a visit to your office flow smoothly for older patients from an OD who travels to nursing homes to provide care for the elderly.

Make Your Office Handicap Accessible. If the entrance to your office has steps, add a ramp. If you don’t have room to construct a ramp, you can purchase a portable one that can be brought out as needed. You can get one for as little as $380 depending on how long it needs to be.

Photocopy Paperwork in Large Print. If your intake information is done on a computer, have easy-to-follow directions. Make the process as easy as possible, without causing confusion. Give older patients ample time, and do not rush them. Keep readers on hand at the front desk in case someone forgets theirs. You could also have small, lighted hand magnifiers for patients with low vision to use.

Speak Slowly & Clearly. If there is an automated directory, make sure the choices are clearly spoken, slow and easy to understand, and be sure your staff knows to do the same.

Be Kind & Respectful. It should not have to be said, but the elderly should be treated with kindness and respect. Do not speak to them in a condescending or babyish tone. Kindness is free.


Maria Higgins, OD, owns The Unique Technique, a business and marketing consultancy. She formerly owned The Unique Optique in Frederick, Md. To contact her:

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