January 3, 2020 by
Of all of the many responsibilities a family caregiver encounters, perhaps one of the most daunting is managing medical issues. The National Council on Aging estimates that approximately ¾ of all seniors are identified as having at least two chronic diseases, and are seeing an average of four medical specialists.
As your senior parent’s advocate, it is very important to know how to communicate effectively with those on the senior’s medical team, and also to come to appointments fully prepared to address any and all issues. The following four questions are a good place to begin:
- Are all of these medications essential? With most older adults taking multiple medications, you’ll want to maintain a detailed list and review occasionally with the physician as well as the pharmacist, both of whom should be able to ensure there aren’t any duplications prescribed by different specialists, or any contraindications between meds.
- If prescribing anything new, what side effects might we be prepared to see? Evaluating the benefits vs. the potential health risks for any new medication is extremely important, as there may be instances when difficult side effects outweigh any advantages provided. If the physician shares a blanket statement such as, “Most patients don’t encounter any problems with this medication,” make sure to follow through to find out more about those who DO experience problems.
- What is the most effective way to relieve 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. Yet unaddressed discomfort and pain can bring about both slowed healing and significant emotional stress, both for the individual experiencing pain along with his or her caregivers.
- If this was your mom, what would you do? Inviting the doctor to step into your shoes is usually a very helpful method to gauge the way you might want to proceed. There may, in reality, be less invasive or aggressive methods to managing a problem that you may wish to explore first.
To get more suggestions for ensuring a loved one is provided with the best possible care, contact At Home Independent Living, an independent living care agency. We are available to help through:
- Accompanying a senior loved one to medical appointments and procedures and making certain that questions are addressed
- Ensuring medicines are taken just as prescribed
- Proactively watching for any changes in condition, such as medication side effects, and reporting them promptly
- Preparing wholesome meals and providing encouragement to stay physically active to improve health
- And so much more
To get started on an improved quality of life for a senior, simply give the leaders in elder care in Memphis, NY and the surrounding areas a call at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to request an in-home consultation.