Of all of the many responsibilities a family caregiver encounters, perhaps one of the more overwhelming is managing health issues. The National Council on Aging reports that about three quarters of all older adults are diagnosed with at least two chronic diseases, and are seeing on average four healthcare specialists.
As your loved one’s senior care 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 thoroughly prepared to address any and all issues. The following four questions are a great starting point:
- Are all of the prescription drugs essential? With most seniors taking many medications, you’ll need to maintain a detailed list and review regularly with the doctor along with the pharmacist, both of whom will 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? Weighing the benefits vs. the potential health risks for any new medication is extremely important, as there might be situations when difficult side effects outweigh any positives available. If the physician shares a blanket statement such as, “Most patients do not experience any difficulties with this medication,” make sure to follow up for more information about those who DO experience problems.
- What’s the best way to decrease pain and discomfort? We’re all mindful of the opioid epidemic, and also the threat of addiction as well as other problems which come with taking prescription pain medications. Yet unaddressed discomfort and pain can result in both delayed healing and considerable emotional stress, both for the senior experiencing pain and his or her caregivers.
- If this was your grandfather, what would you do? Inviting the doctor to step into your shoes is usually an exceptionally helpful way to gauge how you might choose to proceed. There may, in reality, be less invasive or aggressive means to managing a challenge that you might like to check out first.
For additional suggestions for ensuring a senior loved one is provided with the best possible care, connect with the home care experts at Amy’s Helping Hands. We are here to help through:
- Accompanying older adults to medical appointments and procedures and ensuring that questions are addressed
- Ensuring medicines are taken exactly as prescribed
- Proactively watching for any changes in condition, such as medication side effects, and reporting them promptly
- Preparing healthy meals and offering encouragement to stay physically active to improve health
- And much more
To get started on a better quality of life for a cherished older adult, simply call our Windsor-Essex in-home care team at 519-915-4370 to request an in-home consultation.