Of the many responsibilities a family caregiver or elder care advocate faces, perhaps one of the more overwhelming is managing health concerns. The National Council on Aging reports that about ¾ of all older adults are diagnosed with a minimum of two chronic diseases, and they are seeing on average four medical specialists.
As your senior parent’s advocate, it is very important to learn simple tips to communicate effectively with those on the senior’s medical team, and to come to appointments fully prepared to address any and all concerns. The following four questions are a wonderful place to start:
- Are all of these prescriptions essential? With most aging parents taking many medications, you’ll need to maintain a detailed list and examine it periodically with the doctor and also the pharmacist, both of whom will be able to make sure there aren’t any duplications prescribed by different specialists, or any contraindications between meds.
- If prescribing something new, what unwanted side effects should we be prepared to see? Evaluating the benefits vs. the potential risks for any new medication is very important, as there can be situations when troublesome side effects outweigh any positive aspects available. And if the doctor shares a blanket statement such as, “Most people don’t encounter any issues with this medication,” be sure to follow through for more information about people who DO encounter problems.
- What is the simplest way to reduce pain and discomfort? We’re all conscious of the opioid epidemic, as well as the chance of addiction and other problems that come with taking prescription pain medications. However, unaddressed discomfort and pain may cause both delayed healing and considerable emotional stress, both for the individual experiencing pain and his or her caregivers.
- If this was your mom, what would you do? Inviting the doctor to step into your shoes is frequently a very helpful method to gauge how you might choose to proceed. There may, in reality, be less invasive or aggressive methods to managing a challenge that you might wish to explore first.
- Accompanying older adults to healthcare appointments and procedures and ensuring that concerns are answered
- Ensuring medicines are taken exactly as prescribed
- Proactively watching for any changes in condition, such as medication side effects, and reporting them right away
- Planning and preparing healthy meals and offering encouragement to stay physically active to improve health
- And so much more
To get started on an improved quality of life for a senior loved one, simply give us a call at 866-381-0500 to ask about an in-home consultation from the experts in home care Dallas and the surrounding areas depend on.