When you were a child, your parent cared for your health needs, scheduled doctors’ appointments, maintained your medical records, and did everything possible to help you feel your best. One day, you might have to return the favor.
Part of caring for your parent means managing their health information. From prescriptions and doctor’s visits to paying medical bills and handling insurance information, no detail should go overlooked.
What You Need to Manage Your Parent’s Health Information
Handling another person’s critical health information isn’t easy, but these tips can help make it less daunting:
If you are in charge of filling out paperwork or communicating with the doctor regarding your parent’s health, you should have a detailed report of several aspects of his or her health including:
- Family health history
- Your parent’s health history, including surgeries, allergies, diseases or illnesses, and diagnoses
- Insurance information
- A list of prescriptions and over-the-counter supplements or medications
Keep the above information together in one easy-to-access place so it’s readily available when you need it.
To help you find information quickly, create a summary of each of the above items to accompany the documents. It’s also beneficial to have extra copies of these summaries to take with you to health care appointments.
Storing Health Information
A few important questions to answer are:
- Do you prefer to keep a hard copy of your parent’s health information?
- Does your parent’s physician offer an online patient portal to access medical data?
- Would you rather scan documents into a file on your computer to eliminate paperwork?
Different options work best for different people, but each has their own set of concerns. For instance, if your parent visits multiple doctors, he or she may have a unique patient portal for each one. This can make it difficult to keep all of their health information together.
If you choose to keep hard copies of medical bills, insurance information, and other records, make copies and store them in various places in case of a fire, flood, or other disaster.
Scanning documents and storing them digitally can reduce the paper clutter, but you should have these documents backed up in case your hard drive fails. Consider saving them to a location that’s secure and accessible only to those who need the documents.
Know Your Parent’s Health Preferences
Discuss your parent’s long-term health goals while he or she is still healthy and able to make sound decisions.
- Does she prefer to live alone at home as long as possible, or would he rather find an assisted living facility or retirement community?
- Are there specific treatments your parent wishes to avoid, such as chemotherapy or surgeries?
Encourage your parent to create a living will in case of a medical emergency. If you are forced to make the very difficult decision about life support for a senior loved one, it’s better to know for certain what he or she would have wanted.
Helping Caregivers Manage a Senior’s Care
Caring for a parent can be a stressful situation for a variety of reasons, but keeping their health information organized gives you one less thing to worry about. But if you’re overwhelmed by this or any of the other varied aspects of caregiving, Five Star Senior Living can help. We offer Respite Care services to give caregivers a break. Call us to find out more.