Of the many responsibilities a family caregiver faces, possibly the most daunting is managing health conditions. The National Council on Aging reports that nearly ¾ of all seniors are diagnosed with at least two chronic illnesses, and they are seeing an average of four medical experts.
As your senior’s care advocate, it’s crucial to learn simple tips to communicate effectively with those from the older adult’s medical team, and also to come to appointments fully willing to address any and all concerns. The following four questions are an excellent starting point:
- Are all of the prescriptions necessary? With most senior loved ones taking several medications, you will need to keep a detailed list and occasionally review with the doctor and the pharmacist, each of whom should be able to ensure there aren’t any duplications prescribed by different specialists, or any contraindications between meds.
- If prescribing something new, what unwanted side effects should we expect to see? Evaluating the advantages vs. the potential risks for any new medication is vital, as there could be situations when troublesome side effects outweigh any positives provided. And if the physician offers a blanket statement such as, “Most people do not experience any difficulties with this prescription,” make sure to follow through for more information about those who DO experience problems.
- What’s the best way to relieve pain and discomfort? We are all familiar with the opioid epidemic, and also the danger of addiction and other problems which come with taking prescription pain medications. Yet unaddressed pain may result in 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 physician to step into your shoes is actually an incredibly helpful method to gauge the way you might want to proceed. There may, in reality, be less invasive or aggressive means to managing a problem that you may wish to check out first.
- Accompanying a senior loved one to healthcare appointments and procedures and making certain that questions are addressed
- Ensuring prescriptions are taken exactly as prescribed
- Proactively monitoring for any changes in condition, such as medication side effects, and reporting them immediately
- 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 an older adult, simply give the experts in senior care in Dunwoody and throughout the metro Atlanta area a call at (404) 228-0103 to request an in-home consultation.