Many folks who are caring for an elderly or disabled loved one are also juggling their own children, full-time jobs and other commitments. These people are known as the “sandwich generation” for good reason.
Because of numerous pressing commitments, a caregiver may not always be able to accompany his or her loved one to doctor visits. When this is the case, there may be a loss of information that the doctor should be given, such as what medicines have been prescribed, which medicine are actually being taken, whether the patient has side effects, if there are other illnesses being treated and if other doctors are involved.
Even when the caregiver is present, it can be difficult to remember all of the patient’s medical details. In a recent survey of the Home Instead Senior Care Network, only 47% of family caregivers said they knew their parents' medical histories. Only 49% were able to name the medications that their parents take each day.
Have an Emergency Kit Ready!
Luckily, there are some free resources that may fill those gaps. The Senior Emergency Kit is a set of worksheets and checklists that a caregiver and patient can complete together. It includes a Doctor Visit Worksheet, to give the doctor needed information and to keep notes about the patient’s medical tests and doctor’s advice.
What's in Your Toolkit?
Home Instead advises creating a “toolkit” that can be kept in an easily accessible place to allow quick access for a family member who might need it. Among other documents, the toolkit should include:
- Health Care Proxy
- DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order
- Advance Directives (Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney)
- Insurance Policies
- Will and Testament
- Copy of Medicare/Medicaid Card
- Anatomical Gift/Organ Donation Card
- Valuables Designation List
Questions? Contact us for a free consultation!