the art of caring for your aging loved one


Medical Issues and Medical Practitioners

If we live long enough, few of us will avoid needing medical attention of one kind or another.

You have assumed responsibility for someone who needs help. One of your first tasks will be to contact your Aging Loved One's family doctor.

Doctors work on the principle of ruling out a variety of issues. "Let's get some blood work done to rule out iron deficiency" for example. Meanwhile, with a bit of prompting from you, especially if you have given the doc reason to suspect trouble, he'll order a whole whack of tests ... a "work-up."

Roll up the sleeve, Mum. This won't take long.

A week or so later, you'll have another appointment with the doctor and he will review the results. Take notes.

Don't pretend to understand all of the DocTalk.

What is important to you is to understand how you must deal with whatever issues arise.

Must you see specialists?

What can you add to your Do-it-yourself list?

How can you improve the quality of life for your Aging Loved One?

When quality is improved, your hands-on duties are reduced. Sounds good?

Personal Medical History

Create a Personal Medical History for your Aging Loved One. (Why not make one for yourself, too)

Here's a comprehensive guide:

  • Name in full
  • Birthdate
  • Physician and phone number
  • Dentist and phone number
  • Eye doctor and phone number
  • Blood type, if known
  • List of prescription and non-prescription medications
  • Drug sensitivities and allergies (describe)
  • Name of health insurance carrier and phone number

Disorders, diseases, conditions, and treatments:

  • Lung disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart trouble
  • Nervous disorder
  • Disease or disorder of the digestive tract
  • Any form of cancer
  • Disease of the kidneys
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Hepatitis
  • Malaria
  • Disease or disorder of the blood? (describe)
  • Any physical defect or deformity? (describe)
  • Any vision or hearing disorders? (describe)
  • Any life-threatening conditions? (describe)
  • Any contagious disorders? (describe)
  • Date of last physical
  • Date of last tetanus shot

Ask Auntie:

  • Have you been treated by a physician or been disabled or hospitalized during the last year? (describe)
  • Have you had or been advised to have a surgical operation within the last five years? (describe)

Make a list of important medical problems of:

  • Mother
  • Father

Add any other special medical information that you can gather.

File the information in the medical section of The File.

Remember ... Someone sent out a call for help. Medical help is important work.