5 Guidelines for Communicating with a Senior Loved One’s Physician

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Family caregivers frequently discover they’re taking on more of their senior loved ones’ medical care decisions. Once your parent’s abilities begin to change, you may need to attend his or her healthcare appointments and serve as an advocate when he or she cannot communicate. It can be challenging to handle your loved one’s medical care without stepping on any toes, and these tips can help you make the most of your communication with your parent’s doctor.

1. Include Your Loved One as Much as Possible

The first thing you need to do is make sure your loved one is comfortable with you stepping in. In some cases, it may be necessary to get legal documentation of this decision. You’ll also want to continue to include your loved one in his or her healthcare discussions. The doctor should direct questions and information to your parent while you participate in the conversation.

2. Keep a Log of Your Observations

You’ve got a lot on your plate, and medical appointments often cover a large amount of information within a short time. You can make sure you don’t forget anything by creating a journal or notebook where you can jot down questions and new symptoms as you go about your duties. Bring this log to your loved one’s appointments, and you can quickly refer to the information his or her doctor needs to know.

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 Wellesley 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.

3. Be Willing to Respectfully Question Medical Decisions

For the most part, you shouldn’t have to worry about your loved one’s doctor making poor decisions. However, mistakes can sometimes happen. If you feel as though the doctor has prescribed a medication or treatment in error, be willing to speak up. Asking a doctor if a medication is safe to take with another prescription your loved one is currently taking could mean the difference between life and death.

A home caregiver can ensure your loved one takes his or her prescribed medications. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Wellesley 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. 

4. Ask about Different Methods of Communication

Physicians today often encourage seniors to communicate in a variety of ways. Sending an email may help your loved one get an answer to his or her questions faster. Adult children can also choose this method or a phone call to relay sensitive concerns they may not want their parents to overhear. For example, this technique is effective for letting a doctor know to screen for dementia or talk about bad health habits without making your loved one feel you’re overstepping your boundaries as his or her child.

5. Update the Care Team about Any Changes

Caregivers often serve as liaisons among all the different people who make up their senior loved ones’ care teams. Never assume your loved one’s doctor is sharing information with other healthcare providers. Instead, ask if he or she does. For instance, a physical therapist might need to see medical records regarding an injury. You’ll likely need to update doctors, dentists, and nurses every time your loved one receives a new diagnosis or begins to use a different medication. 

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. 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (781) 239-0060.

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