Many Baby Boomers find themselves acting in the capacity of family caregiver for their elderly parent or parents. These tips can help when caring for an aging parent.
As hard as it is to take care of your own health, it can be even more difficult to be in charge of your parents’ care. When managing a parent’s health, you need to walk a fine line of being responsible for their doctor visits, managing their medications, and monitoring their symptoms, while at the same time not taking their autonomy and dignity away from them.
It’s also difficult for a parent, after a lifetime of taking care of themselves and their family, to now be in a position where they need to ask for help. These particular family caregiver challenges present themselves day in and day out for millions of adults in the U.S. who are managing an aging parent’s health or are on the receiving end of that support.
Make Family Caregiving a Little Easier
What can you do to make this difficult time easier for both you and your parent?
- Discuss the situation with your parent. Ask them what they need from you and what they want to be responsible for themselves. Good communication is the cornerstone of every relationship, especially this one. Don’t forget to discuss how they want to handle communications with their doctor. This article from A Place For Mom provides useful advice on the subject of speaking with your parent’s doctor.
- Discuss the situation with your employer. Let them know about the added responsibilities you are now shouldering and discuss possibilities, where appropriate, that can help accommodate the situation better, such as working from home.
- Know your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Under this law, there are circumstances in which individuals have the opportunity to take up to 12 weeks off, without pay, to care for a family member without fear of losing their job.
- Ask for help. Seek support from other family members and from the community. Your city may have adult day care facilities that are equipped to take care of your parent while you are at work, or there may be other options you can explore, such as home health aides.
- Take care of yourself. Caregivers are often overburdened and can end up suffering from depression, anxiety, and other stress-related illnesses as a result. You will be no help to your parent if you are not taking good care of yourself as well. Key to your health and well-being will be making sure that you get the proper sleep, nutrition, exercise and time off. If caregiving is taking a toll on your health, make an appointment to see your own doctor.
An Additional Tip When Caring for an Aging Parent
One big step that you can take to alleviate stress for you and your parent is to gather and organize your parent’s medical records. As your parent ages, they may be referred to new doctors for help in managing any new symptoms or complications. Having your parent’s previous medical history collected will be a tremendous help to any doctors who need to prescribe new medicines or treatment.
If your parent is able to provide you with background information on doctors, medicines, treatments, hospitalizations, and facilities they have visited, it will be a great starting point. From there, you can contact the healthcare providers and facilities to request as many records as they have for as far back as they have them.
CareSync Can Help
At CareSync, the top choice in Chronic Care Management companies, we offer care coordination services that can help. We can:
- Do the legwork for you, contacting healthcare providers to request your parent’s medical records
- Create useful health summaries that give you a clearer picture of your parent’s health
- Provide you with 24/7/365 telephone and online access to clinical Health Assistants who can answer healthcare questions and help you coordinate care for your family member with services that include scheduling appointments, arranging transportation to appointments as needed, and identifying special programs, discounts, and other helpful healthcare resources that can benefit you and your parent
- Create a comprehensive care plan for your parent that can help them get and stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible
- Help you take advantage of the benefits of mobile health apps, like our easy-to-use web, iOS and Android app for accessing and tracking health information
- Provide you with membership in the Caresync Pharmacy Discount Program for savings of up to 70% on common medications