It’s common for aging parents to feel somewhat overwhelmed by the increasing number of doctor’s appointments, medical tests, and medications that they’re now responsible for. As an adult, you can now help lower some of this stress by helping your parent with their medical needs. Things like helping to set appointments, explaining insurance coverage, and providing transportation can all go a long way toward helping your parent feel more comfortable.
Consider taking one or all of the following actions to help your parent with their medical needs:
Understand Your Parent’s Health Insurance Policy
As you work to manage your parent’s medical needs, it’s important that you understand what type of insurance they have, what it covers, and what services they obtain regularly and bill to insurance. This can help you notice if there are any billing errors or other alarming trends that you should be aware of. For example, in 2008, there were 750,000 methadone prescriptions written for pain relief. In 2019, there were enough opioid prescriptions written for one in every two people in the United States to have received one, according to the CDC. These statistics make it easy to see why it’s important to know what’s being done with your parent’s medical information and if they are receiving the proper medications that they’re prescribed.
Assist With Appointment Reminders and Follow-Ups
Another way that you can assist your parent is by helping ensure that they make their follow-up doctor’s appointments and to remind them about upcoming appointments. Sometimes, scheduling appointments can be overwhelming, especially when an individual sees numerous medical providers. Helping with this task can be a valuable way to contribute. Set up a calendar in their home that has every appointment and reminder written down.
Ensure Your Parent Lives In a Safe Home
Another great way that you can take care of your parent’s health is to make sure that the home that they live in is as safe as possible. Do a safety audit and evaluate the house for hazards like black mold, lead paint, and radon. Chronic lead exposure in adults, for example, can cause joint pain and high blood pressure as well as issues with memory and concentration. It’s easy to assume that these issues are brought on by other causes in an elderly adult, so ensure your parent’s house or apartment is safe.
Assist With Your Parent’s Transportation Needs
Another important way that you can help an aging parent with medical needs is to assist them with transportation to and from their medical appointments. It’s common for elderly adults to think that they’re safer on the roads than they are, and it’s important to make sure that you help limit accidents as your parent’s abilities decrease. In fact, in 2018 alone, there were 4.5 million injuries in car accidents that required medical consultation.
Consider Your Parent’s Condition and Discuss What Next Steps to Take
As your parent ages, you may find that their health declines. If this is the case, it’s important to discuss what steps they’d like to take. Make this a family discussion with your parent and other members of the family present. This way, everyone has a clear picture of what elder care will look like. Proactively addressing any existing health concerns and coming up with a treatment plan can help make sure that your parent stays healthy for as long as possible as well.
Getting older can be stressful, especially if one’s health is declining. You can help your parent feel less stressed and more optimistic by helping them manage their medical needs throughout the week. Simple things like speaking openly about their medical care, reminding them about upcoming appointments, and helping them manage their medications efficiently can all go a long way towards helping lower their stress levels.