One of the primary goals of my practice is to help my elderly patients continue to live longer, healthier lives in their familiar surroundings and established communities. Also, one of the most common questions I hear from the families that I care for is “How do I allow my loved one to keep their independence?”
Medical conditions that can make living at home difficult include problems remembering to take medications, issues with mobility such as recent hip fractures, as well as complicated medical problems such as congestive heart failure, out of control diabetes and severe COPD. Oftentimes the elderly patient’s family lives far away, even in another state so helping your elderly parent be sure that they are getting the proper care that they need also often challenging.
I believe that having a primary care provider who coordinates all of the medical care that your elderly family member needs is most important. I find it extremely rewarding to help my patients navigate the often confusing healthcare system.
Several tools help me assist my patients at home:
1) Prescription Bottle Caps which have a timer to help patients remember to take their medicine.
2) Medical record on key ring that is updated at each visit.
3) Print Medications and summary of visit for each patient at each visit as patients may forget what you tell them during the encounter.
4) Make patients caregivers/family aware of any changes in patient’s care
5) In-home care providers can be very helpful when needed
6) Involve the patient in the decision making as much as possible
7) Be careful about any medications that may cause drowsiness or falls
8. Work with specialists and coordinate patient care with all upcoming appointments written down on their calendar
9) A home visit will allow you to assess the patients environment and get them home equipment which will help keep them independent. Some examples are: Shower Chair, Raised toilet seats, bathtub/shower grab bars, Bed rails, Hospital type bed that can be adjusted to prop the patient up or an Over Bed Table.
One of the most fulfilling parts of my career is helping elderly patients retain their independence, and stay at home for as long as they can. I enjoy working with family members to help make this possible.
This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient. If you have questions please contact your medical provider.
I hope that you have found this information useful. Wishing you the best of health,
Scott Rennie, DO