If your senior parent cannot take care of themselves as they used to, it falls upon you to help provide them with the medical and emotional support they need. As such, you need to know how to communicate clearly with their primary caregivers and doctors. By keeping the care support network strong, you can be happy in the knowledge that your senior parent is getting the care they need during their stay at an assisted living community.
Remember that doctors and caregivers cannot talk to multiple members of the family, as it can become confusing. Pick one person in your family who will be responsible for speaking to your parent’s health team.
Build a Network of Caregivers to Relieve Stress
You cannot take care of an elderly parent all by yourself. Shouldering the responsibility alone can be stressful and negatively impact your own life.
There will come a time when you will be unable to care for your parent, either because of illness or stress. In such a time, having a care network available can be a lifesaver. Your network can consist of:
- Church organizations
- Family members
- Illness support groups
Once you have a reliable network, those involved can help you with your parent’s:
- Doctor’s appointments
- Medication management
- Daily chores
Communication Is Key
Even if you are not your loved one’s primary caregiver, it’s essential that everyone keeps their lines of communication open. Adult children and caregivers alike should be able to talk and listen to each other. By cooperating, the health and well-being of seniors will not be jeopardized and remain the priority.
Keeping all caregivers and doctors that your senior parent regularly sees up-to-date can have a big impact on the quality of care they receive. When speaking to doctors and caregivers:
- Be honest: Don’t be afraid to tell your parent’s doctor if you believe there is a problem. That way, the issue can be quickly addressed.
- Attend visits: Attend doctor appointments and visit with the staff at your parent’s assisted living community. Listen to what they have to say and take notes to help you keep track of information and address any questions you may have later on. Being present is ideal, as you don’t have to hear the information secondhand. But if you are unable to attend, find someone who is reliable and will take notes for you.
- Take notes: Take notes during your parent’s doctor’s appointment regarding any medications and treatments they may have. Keeping accurate notes will help you remember this important medical information in case of an emergency.
Make Sure All Legal Paperwork is Completed & Accurate
Should your parent be unable to communicate their medical wishes to their doctor, having someone who can legally make medical decisions for them is critical to their care. If your senior parent has a living will or other legal documents dictating their health care, make sure they are completed and accurate. If not, it’s a good idea to talk to them about end-of-life care and get all the necessary legal papers completed as soon as possible.
Have All Medical Information Easily Accessible
In case of an emergency, it is vital that your senior parent’s up-to-date medical information is easily accessible to medical personnel. That way, should something happen and you are unavailable, your parent can get the care they need as quickly as possible.