When it comes to becoming a partner in elder health care, I've learned that an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. Finding good elder health care can be a daunting task, but finding a good family or geriatric care physician is vital.
For many years we had a doctor who specialized in family medicine and held a second specialty in geriatric care. He was a great resource for his patients that were caring for their elderly parents. He taught me how to respectfully become an advocate for my parents' elder health care. With his help I began the journey of caring for my parents starting by helping to manage their elder health care information.
I created caregiver file with a folder for each family member. I began keeping a record of medications (including allergies), hospital stays, conditions, surgeries, physicians and their contact information, living wills, power of attorney and any other senior services they receive. On the computer I shrank the medication and physician list to a wallet size card (some are folded) for each family member and I to carry with us at all times in our purse or wallet. Each year I copy everyone's insurance information to put in their folder. Recently I discovered a free tool from Quest Diagnostics, I drive my carethat also may be of help to anyone caring for parents.
Before any elder health care appointment, we discuss and type up any issues, questions or comments we want to bring up and take this with us. We also bring a list of any health changes to help the new doctor see what has been going on. (I also include these lists in the appropriate folders in the event we need to refer to them again.) All the tips our previous doctor had taught us ensured we received the best geriatric care at our appointments. Elder health care providers have told us that our lists, questions and comments help to make their job easier. I've noticed that these also help to make sure that nothing gets missed.
These simple skills have allowed me to become a partner in my parent's elder health care. What have you done to ensure your loved ones are getting good elder health care? As a caregiver have you discovered any elder health care tips or tricks that have made caring for your parents easier in this area? I'd love to hear all about it via the comment section below.
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