5 Strategies for Communicating with an Aging Loved One’s Physician

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Ways to Communicate with Your Senior Parent's Doctor in Des Moines, IA

While many older adults are perfectly capable of managing their own medical appointments, there may be times when this isn’t the case. If you’ve reached a point where it’s clear you should be more informed and directly involved so you can provide better care for your older loved one at home, it’s important to have a game plan in place to do this effectively. Below, you’ll find five ways you can communicate with your parent’s doctor.

1. Take the Right Legal Steps

Your parent’s doctor may not feel comfortable talking to you about medical issues because of privacy laws. If your parent has signed a durable medical power of attorney or healthcare directive that gives you the authority to discuss health-related matters on his or her behalf, give copies of this documentation to the doctor. If you don’t have this kind of documentation, the doctor may ask your parent to sign a consent form.

2. Choose One Family Member to Handle Communication

If several different family members are checking in with your loved one’s doctor on a regular basis, things could quickly get confusing for everyone involved. Instead, designate one family member to handle this type of communication. If this person is you, share important health information with other family members to keep everyone on the same page. 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 Des Moines 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. Go to Appointments Together

Going to your loved one’s appointments will give you a chance to take notes and focus on what’s being discussed so your loved one can concentrate more on the purpose of the visit. You can also be a source of comfort, especially for times when tests will be performed. During each appointment, take time to: • Go over all medications currently being taken • Confirm any post-visit instructions • Discuss reactions to any recent medication adjustments • Mention any recent physical or mental health changes • Ask for some advice about things you can do to help your parent stay healthy between visits Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Des Moines 24-hour 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. Make a List of Questions/Concerns Prior to Visits

The average doctor visit lasts about 15–20 minutes, so it’s easy to forget to bring things up or ask important questions. Prior to each visit, sit down with your parent and come up with a list of questions or concerns that need to be addressed. It’s a lot easier to do this while relaxing at home. Being prepared ahead of time will also make each visit more productive and beneficial.

5. Establish Communication Preferences & Procedures

If you’ve ever tried to call a doctor’s office that has an automated phone system, you know how difficult it can be to talk to an actual person. Make communicating with your parent’s doctor between visits less stressful and frustrating by clearly establishing communication preferences and procedures. This may mean: • Asking for a direct contact number for emergency use • Exchanging email info so you can communicate about non-urgent matters • Getting the name of a nurse or other staff member so you’ll have a contact person in the office for times when the doctor isn’t immediately available  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 homecare. 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. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.

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