Family caregivers spend a significant amount of time each week managing doctor appointments, finances, medicine and running basic errands. This is on top of the many hours a week spent assisting with bathing, dressing and answering the same question a million times over. Maybe you can identify!
If you’re struggling to manage your elderly parent’s life, here’s some ways you can simplify their life so you can have more time for your own…
5 Ways to Simplify Your Elderly Parent’s Life
1) Coordinate as much as possible online.
Online banking, including direct deposits, and prescriptions can be managed online, which not only saves you from having to run around all over but it allows you to work and coordinate at a time of day that’s convenient for you. You can even purchase incontinence supplies online.
2) Hire someone to help with bookkeeping.
Let’s face it the Medicare paper work, insurance reimbursements, doctor’s bills, lab bills, radiology bills are endless and it takes time to coordinate and manage it all. You may be surprised at how low cost a bookkeeper can be and the pay off can be HUGE.
3) Discontinue unnecessary medications.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the insane amount of medication that many older adults take. Ask the physician if any can be safely discontinued. Along with this, ask if dosages can be lowered or given fewer times a day to alleviate multiple daily dosages.
A quick side note on this one. I recently asked one of my clients to call their dad’s doctor to ask if we could reduce the amount of times per day he was to receive his eye drops. We were able to reduce the amount of times per day the drops were given from 5 to 2! What a HUGE difference this made in simplifying his life and providing him the ability to mange life in his home.
4) Put an end to multiple physician visits.
Primary care physician, cardiologist, nephrologist, pulmonologist etc. Again, ask your primary care physician if there is a way to cut down on these visits. Is there really anything those specialists are doing that your primary care physician can’t do? These visits will wear you both out and you have to ask yourself if the cost outweighs the benefit.
5) Organize your elderly parents vital information
Organize their records so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you need it. Powers of attorney, advance directives, Medicare and insurance cards, medication lists, pharmacy information, family contact information should all be stored in an easy to reach location so you don’t have to search every time you need this information.
Unless you’ve done it day in and day out, it’s hard to understand just how complicated and busy the life of an elderly person can be. Simplifying their life is not only wise but essential if you’re going to have enough energy left in the day for yourself and for them.
Like anything, simplifying your elderly parent’s life will take some work and creativity but it’s well worth the effort to free yourself up. Free yourself up to do more of what you enjoy with them instead of running, running, running.
Question: What are the biggest obstacles you face in organizing your elderly parent’s life? Do you have any tips that can help others?