Monday, July 6, 2015
As your parents age, you may feel a lot of anxiety about their medical care. As an independent adult, it is important to be aware of your prescriptions, health problems and issues. However, as a senior it is imperative. Missing doses of medicine or lacking awareness of symptoms can be dangerous for an elderly person with a serious disease like diabetes or heart disease. Because your parent or loved one may not be able to remember and retain all of this important information, you should step forward as a healthcare advocate. The first step in that process is to make sure that they are taking all of their
1. Talk to their medical team
You should become a vital member of their care team and be present at appointments. You should also communicate often with their healthcare providers including physical therapists, counselors and nutritionists. Your loved one will need to sign off for you to be informed of their health and medical records unless you have been declared their legal guardian.
2. Know what they are taking
Know exactly what they are taking and the dosages. Make a printed chart for both yourself and for
3. Organize a pill box for them
Get a pill box that they can use to keep their prescriptions in order. This will always be an easy way to check to see if they have remembered.
4. Make notes when taking them to appointments
When you escort them to doctor’s appointments, bring a notepad or a piece of paper and a pen. As the visit progresses, take notes. It is hard enough remembering your own healthcare issues and drugs, you cannot possibly memorize theirs too.
5. Hire help
This is a big source of guilt for some caregivers who feel that they should be the only looking after mom or dad. However, when caregivers ask for help and are able to take breaks they are better for themselves and their loved one. Hiring a senior care specialist to check in with them and look over their prescriptions will give you peace of mind… and a break!
A quick note about YOU: Parental caregiving is hard and can feel overwhelming. It is much like parenting children but much more emotional and sad because you are experiencing the inevitable loss of the parents of your youth. The once strong and healthy man who carried you on his back may now be fragile and confined to a wheelchair. Your beautiful aunt with the beautiful red hair may have lost it all in chemo. The experience of watching your parents age is hard and you need time to process your own emotions and take care of you with some self-care (would link to self-care article).
Prescription medicines are vital to many seniors’ lives. They cannot afford to forget their medicines too many days in a row… or to take too many the next day. Running out or not being able to find them can also be a huge issue. As your parent’s medical advocate, you will be in charge of seeing to it that all of their drugs are being taken responsibly. However, please remember that in all facets of parental caregiving, you must allow others to help you.