As your older loved one ages, there’s often a sort of natural role reversal in terms of how you interact. This is more likely to be the case with health-related matters, especially if your senior parent isn’t as open and interactive with the doctor as he or she should be. If this is a concern for you, there are some ways you can communicate with your parent’s doctor in a way that’s good for everyone involved.
Get Proper Legal Permission
If you don’t have proper authorization, your parent’s physician may not feel comfortable discussing medical information with you because of privacy regulations. Remedy this situation by discussing a durable medical power of attorney with your parent. This is a document that allows you to make health-related decisions on behalf of your parent when necessary. It also gives you authorization to discuss medical information with your loved one’s doctors. A similar document is a healthcare proxy. Some doctors also ask older adults to sign consent forms that designate certain family members who can discuss health-related matters with their loved ones’ physicians.
Determine How You’ll Contact Your Parent’s Doctor
Once you have permission to discuss your parent’s medical issues, establish ways to contact the doctor between visits if you have questions or concerns. You might do this by email or text, or you could ask for a direct number for times when there are urgent health matters to discuss.
Go with Your Parent to Appointments
Attending doctor appointments with your parent can keep him or her calm and focused on the purpose of the visit. This also gives you an opportunity to:
• Take notes or keep a notebook so you can document each visit
• Confirm details about follow-up tests or medication changes
• Get an explanation if a new diagnosis is made
• Ask for referrals to appropriate specialists if you believe your parent will benefit more from specialized care
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Carmichael live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.
Come Up with a List of Questions
The average doctor’s appointment in the United States is about 15-20 minutes due to time constraints. Help your parent get the most out of appointments by sitting down together prior to appointments to make a list of questions you both want answered. Another way to do this is to go through a checklist that may include discussing:
• How chronic conditions are currently being managed
• Any new, unusual, or worsening symptoms you may have noticed
• How your parent is reacting to any recent adjustments in medication
• General quality of life, both physically and mentally
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care service. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
Keep the Rest of the Family in the Loop
If your parent receives occasional care from other family members, get into the habit of regularly sharing important medical information with them. This can minimize confusion and disagreements, especially among siblings. You’ll also be able to get some added input from other family members if there comes a time when important care decisions need to be made.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Carmichael Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (916) 485-4663 today.