Early steps in caring for your parent

So far, things have been going pretty smoothly with your parent and you haven't had too many concerns. But you know the time is coming when you'll need to be involved in a more direct way. Just as it's important to talk with siblings and your own family members about the changes ahead, there are other people you may want to talk to as well. You may find the support of these people very helpful for ongoing care and in times of crisis.

  • Let your employer know about the possible changes in your personal circumstances. Their understanding will help relieve the stress if you have to take time off work for doctor's appointments or to deal with other matters.
  • Make an appointment with your parents' doctor and let them know about your concerns. Find out what you need to do should you need information from them about your parents' health condition. Listen to their advice on what symptoms to look for that may indicate worsening of their health conditions.
  • Visit your parents' pharmacist and make sure they know who you are in case you have any questions about the medications your parents may be taking and possible side effects to watch out for.
  • Know who your parents' friends and neighbours are, and make sure they know you.

You've spoken with everyone you can think of to ensure everyone involved with the care of your parent is well informed. That's an excellent beginning. Now you need to get down to the practical business of caring for another person. Take the time to think, plan, and gather information. It's time well spent and will save you aggravation and worry in the future. Here are some things to get you started:

  • Start gathering information so you have it all easily accessible when you need it. This includes:
    • a list of all medical conditions and medications
    • their provincial health card number(s)
    • names, phone numbers, and addresses of doctors, specialists, dentists, and pharmacists
    • names and phone numbers of their friends, neighbours, and people you should call in case of an emergency
    • if they're renting accommodation or living in a condo, the names and phone numbers for the landlord, condominium corporation, and maintenance staff
    • account numbers and contact numbers for all credit cards, bank accounts, financial advisors, insurance policies, and investments
    • name and phone number of their lawyer
    • copy of their will, power of attorney for property, power of attorney for personal care, living will
  • Make sure you and others have a key to the house.
  • Keep good notes of any appointments, symptoms you observe, phone calls, changes in health conditions, or moodiness.
  • Follow up with healthcare professionals.
  • Find out about community resources.
  • Be honest about your own needs.

Two of the most important documents to have prepared well in advance are the powers of attorney for financial and health care decisions. Without these two documents, you may find yourself without the authority to make important decisions at a critical time. You and your parents should carefully consider who will be named on these documents. Be sure you, your parents, and your siblings understand what authority and responsibility these documents cover.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Aging-Parents-Early-Steps-in-Caring