One of the many tasks that family caregivers often provide for aging relatives is arranging and scheduling medical care. That can be difficult if you don’t have all of the information you need on hand. For example, do you know the date of the senior’s last physical? Can you name all of the medications they are taking? Are you aware of their wishes concerning end-of-life care? It’s a lot to keep track of, but it can be done with some time spent organizing. Since October is “Organize Your Medical Information Month,” why not dedicate some time getting your senior family member’s medical information in order. Below are some tips to get you started.
Make a Contact List
Creating a list of all the health care professionals the senior sees makes scheduling appointments quicker and easier for caregivers. Write down the name of each provider, their contact information, and what kinds of care they provide to the senior. Keep the list in the place where you usually sit to make appointments, such as near your telephone. If you are a caregiver who tends to make appointments while you’re on the go, like during your lunch break at work, keep an electronic copy of the list that can be accessed from your smartphone.
Keep Current Information on Hand
It’s probably safe to pack away any information that is older than a year, but make sure it is clearly labeled and in a place where you can get to it if necessary. Keep a folder or electronic file that includes all current information, such as descriptions of recent appointments, a list of medications, and insurance information. Make sure all caregivers know where the file is in case of an emergency.
Take Notes and Write Summaries
Sometimes doctors impart so much information during an appointment that it can be hard to remember it all. Caregivers should not be afraid to bring a notebook and pen along to take notes during the appointment. It’s also a good idea to write down questions to ask the doctor ahead of time. After the appointment, take some time to write a brief summary of the information received. Be sure to include the date of the appointment and the doctor’s name in case you need it later.
When an older adult has a progressive disease that will eventually require others to make decisions for them, it’s important for caregivers to have information about their wishes. There are several legal documents that may be needed to accomplish their goals, such as a living will or advance directive. Your loved one’s care team should be able to provide you with more information about these documents or where you can get help.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider senior care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.