Posted on: January 8, 2020

at the doctor's office

Many seniors depend on caregivers to act as advocates at medical appointments.

Of all of the many responsibilities a family caregiver encounters, potentially one of the most overwhelming is managing a loved one’s health conditions. The National Council on Aging reports that around ¾ of all seniors are clinically determined to have at least two chronic diseases, and they are seeing an average of four medical experts.

As your aging parent’s advocate, it’s very important to know how to communicate effectively with those on the older adult’s medical team, and to arrive at appointments completely prepared to address all concerns. The following four questions are a great place to start:

  1. Are all of these medications essential? With most seniors taking multiple medications, you will need to keep a detailed list and evaluate periodically with the doctor, along with the pharmacist, each of whom will be able to make sure there aren’t any duplications prescribed by different specialists, or any contraindications between meds.
  2. If prescribing something new, what unwanted side effects might we expect to see? Evaluating the benefits vs. the potential health risks for any new medication is very important, as there may be situations when troublesome side effects overshadow any positive benefits. And in case the physician shares a blanket statement such as, “Most people do not encounter any problems with this medication,” make sure to follow up to learn more about people who DO encounter problems.
  3. What’s the most effective way to decrease pain and discomfort? We’re all familiar with the opioid epidemic, and also the risk of addiction, as well as other problems that come with taking prescription pain medications. However, unaddressed pain can bring about both slowed healing and considerable emotional stress, both for the individual experiencing pain along with his or her caregivers.
  4. If this were your grandfather, what would you do? Inviting the doctor to step into your shoes is an extremely helpful method to gauge the way you may wish to proceed. There may, in reality, be less invasive or aggressive means to managing a problem which you might want to explore first.

To get more tips on ensuring an older adult you love receives the best care management, get in touch with the care management experts at Alivity Care Advocates. We’re here to help through:

  • Providing unbiased, informed advice
  • Providing an independent, professional assessment of the care situation
  • Acting as a trusted, local representative for out-of-town family members
  • Offering counseling and support to caregivers
  • Assisting with setup and monitoring of medications
  • Recommending pre-screened and vetted service providers and community resources
  • And much more

At Alivity, we believe that everyone needs an advocate, someone to be there, provide support, and help make difficult decisions. Our team of social workers and nurses helps coordinate medical care and collaborates with health care providers as the client’s care advocate. To get started on better care management for an older adult, contact Alivity Care Advocates at (248) 375-9125 to request a consultation and learn more about options for caregiver support in Troy, MI and the surrounding area.