From aches and pains to life-altering ailments, seniors often find themselves continually hopping from one doctor’s office to the next. If it isn’t the eye doctor, it’s the cardiologist, or the foot doctor, or the primary care physician, or maybe an endocrinologist. With so many medical appointments to attend and so many health conditions to manage, an elderly patient’s best course of action may be to rely on one of his or her children for a little help. Being an advocate for an aging parent or loved one can improve quality of care in so many ways.
Advocating for a senior patient may seem like an overwhelming responsibility, but just imagine how it feels to be the patient! Serving as an advocate in a medical setting can be as simple as just going along to appointments and following up with doctors by phone. You provide the same kind of care for your aging parents as they provided for you when you were a baby.
Key Reasons to Advocate for Your Aging Loved Ones
Everyone likes a hand to hold now and then when the going gets tough. Besides that, though, serving as an advocate for your elderly parent or family member can significantly improve the quality of care he or she may receive. Here’s why.
Being a patient can sometimes be overwhelming.
Your loved one will truly appreciate a friendly face and a bit of comfort having you along for an appointment or medical procedure. Your presence may help relieve anxiety, as you can speak with your loved one, keeping his or her mind occupied and free from any worries. Information overload may sometimes leave a patient speechless, and age can impact memory, leaving someone more forgetful than usual. These are just a few ways you can take some pressure off of an elderly patient.
Medical reminders and reinforcement are helpful, even necessary.
Many people, as they age, end up having to take daily medications beyond a simple multivitamin. Often, certain drugs can have poor interactions when mixed with other medications, so it’s best to stay on top of your loved one’s daily pill plan. Another key reason is that you can advocate for your parent or older patient concerning allergies and critical health conditions that require particular medication or dietary restrictions, like diabetes.
Two sets of eyes and ears are better than one.
When a doctor or nurse gives instructions, you will have input from two people instead of just one overwhelmed patient. You can both review the course of care and bring up any concerns as appropriate. You also might catch a potential mistake with medication or other treatment before any problems or interactions.
If your mother, father, or other close relative is advanced in years and going through quite a few medical issues at once, now is an excellent time to offer a little support. Whether they still live at home or have moved into a nursing home, your help can directly impact the quality of life. Go with your parent or loved one to critical medical appointments and procedures to provide an added level of care and a bit of compassion. The moral support can boost your loved one’s spirits by leaps and bounds, and the state of mind indeed does make a difference in the healing process.