Becoming a Medical Advocate for your Aging Parent

Of the many tasks that a family caregiver is responsible for, making appointments with their aging parent’s health care team and communicating with their doctor and other home health care providers is probably one of the most important. For some, this task comes easy. For others, they have learned to not question a physician or have, in the past, dealt with people in the heath care field that were difficult to communicate with. Whatever the history, now is always a good time to make a fresh start and learn the art of communicating with health care providers and acting as your parent’s advocate.

Home Health Care Canandaigua NY - Becoming a Medical Advocate for your Aging Parent

Home Health Care Canandaigua NY – Becoming a Medical Advocate for your Aging Parent

How to Become your Parent’s Medical Advocate

An advocate is a supporter, someone that champions a cause and speaks out for the better good. At some point in your caregiving, your parent may need such a person to back them up, ask questions, and make sure that all health care providers are on the same page. There are several areas of health care that you will play an important role in.

Medications

Drug-related problems are, unfortunately, very common in the elderly. These include ineffectiveness, adverse side effects, overdosing and drug interactions. Hospitalization rates due to adverse drug effects among elderly people are four times higher than their younger counterparts. They are, however, thought to be preventable in almost 90 percent of the cases.

You can help by keeping a current list of your parent’s medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Document when a new drug is prescribed and make sure the prescribing doctor is aware of all of their current medications. Include what each drug is for, the dose taken and the time of day. Take this list to their pharmacist and ask them to look for any red flags, possible drug interactions, or duplications—medications that appear to be for the same disease and treat the same symptoms.

Appointments

At some point in time, you will need to accompany your parent to their medical appointments. When you do, have a list of questions ready and take notes on the physician’s recommendations. Be sure to keep your parent in the conversation so they do not feel excluded when discussing their health.

Knowledge is Power

If your parent has been diagnosed with a disease or has been placed on a treatment plan, due diligence requires that you research key points about available treatments. For instance, pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that consists of exercises, education and support for those who have lung issues such as COPD. It has proved very useful, though often goes unprescribed. There are also several different types of therapists for those who have suffered from a stroke—and recovery can sometimes occur several years following the initial event. Being aware and keeping yourself educated can help your parent lead the best quality of life possible.

Resources:  http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/geriatrics/drug-therapy-in-the-elderly/drug-related-problems-in-the-elderly
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/doctors-appointments-tips-caregivers

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Canandaigua NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and ansurrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.

About Kevin Watkins

Caring Hearts of Rochester was founded by John Hunt and Kevin Watkins. Kevin and John met when they were in the same Boy Scout Troop in their youth. They chose different career paths before forming Caring Hearts.

Kevin and his wife, Candy, lived in Naples, Florida for 10 years, where three of their four children were born. He was recruited to the insurance industry by a colleague who felt his personality would benefit people with needs. The insurance industry became a big part of their lives. He evaluated peoples’ risks, working with property and casualty, and life products, and later began to underwrite Long Term Care insurance as people were beginning to plan for their futures. He started two agencies, then bought a third. In his last three years before selling his third agency, he was ranked in the top 10%, top 5% & then top 1% nationally out of the more than 12,500 Allstate agencies in the U.S. at the time. Kevin’s success can be accredited to his kind nature and his genuine desire to help individuals and families with their needs. He feels very at home meeting with people and discussing their needs, a trait that has been very helpful in his continued success with Caring Hearts of Rochester. Kevin returned to Rochester in 2006 to introduce their young children to snow and to be closer to his extended family.

After having returned to Rochester from their careers in other states, John and Kevin reconnected. Alzheimer’s had afflicted both of their families, and they had both experienced and witnessed the challenges associated with the role of being a caregiver. Kevin’s and John’s collective experiences complemented their desire to work with families and individuals in need. They founded Caring Hearts of Rochester and have since been able work in a capacity that has become a passion for them. They are both Certified Senior Advisors (CSA), a designation earned through education, study and experience in the Elderly and Geriatric Care Profession. Their number one concern is providing their senior clients with ethical and effective services and products. Caring Hearts of Rochester is associated with numerous local affiliations for the elderly in the Upstate NY area including Lifespan, Eldersource, and the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly.

As the co-founders and hands-on managers of Caring Hearts of Rochester, we thank you for this opportunity to tell you about our passion. We are responsible for the services we offer, for the people we hire, for the training they receive, for the quality and reliability of the services our team delivers to you and your loved ones. Give us a call so that we may learn more about you and your needs at (585) 861-CARE(2273)