Of the many responsibilities a family caregiver faces, perhaps one of the more daunting is managing health conditions. The National Council on Aging reports that nearly ¾ of all older adults are clinically determined to have a minimum of two chronic illnesses, and are seeing an average of four senior care physicians.
As your older parent’s advocate, it is very important to know how to communicate effectively with those from his or her medical team, and to arrive at appointments completely prepared to address any and all concerns. The following four questions from the experts in home care in Hollywood at JFS Care are a good starting point:
- Are all of these prescription drugs essential? With most aging parents taking numerous medications, you will want to keep a detailed list and review it regularly with the doctor and also 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 anything new, what unwanted side effects might we be prepared to see? Weighing the advantages vs. the potential risks for any new medication is a must, as there may be instances when difficult side effects outweigh any benefits. If the physician shares a blanket statement such as, “Most people don’t suffer from any difficulties with this prescription,” make sure to follow up for more information about people who DO experience problems.
- What is the easiest method to decrease pain and discomfort? We are all conscious of the opioid epidemic, and also the risk of addiction and other problems that come with taking prescription pain medications. Yet unaddressed pain and discomfort may cause both delayed healing and considerable emotional stress, both for the senior experiencing pain along with his or her caregivers.
- If this were your mom, what would you do? Inviting the physician to step into your shoes can be an exceptionally helpful method to gauge how you may choose to proceed. There may, in fact, be less invasive or aggressive methods to managing a challenge that you might wish to check out first.
For more tips on ensuring an older adult you love receives the best possible care, connect with the home care professionals at JFS Care. We’re here to help through:
- Accompanying seniors to healthcare appointments and procedures and making sure questions are answered
- Ensuring medicines are taken just as prescribed
- Proactively watching for any changes in condition, such as medication side effects, and reporting them immediately
- Preparing nutritious meals and providing encouragement to stay physically active to enhance health
- And so much more