If you sign up to have senior care aides assist your parents, how do you know that the services are helping? Communication is the key to ensuring your parents’ needs are met. If you’re not communicating with family carers and professional caregivers, you’re likely missing important information.
Be Proactive in Your Parents’ Care
Make sure you’re being proactive. If your parents have never thought about adding you to their HIPAA permissions or designating you as their medical power of attorney, you should ask them about it. At the very least, you want them to tell you if health issues are affecting their daily activities.
If your parents come back from annual check-ups and aren’t certain why they were put on a medication, you should be able to advocate for them. Find out why they have the medication. If it’s a permanent or temporary prescription, see what else they should be doing.
Make Yourself Available
Don’t be too hard to reach. It’s normal to avoid answering calls due to all the varieties of scams. Keep your parents’ doctors, dentists, and caregivers on your contact list. If a call comes in from one of them, answer it or call back as quickly as possible.
If you live close to your parents, stop by once a week at a quieter hour and chat with the caregiver. Bring snacks and drinks and ask if there have been any issues or if all is going well.
Ask Your Parents
Make sure you ask your parents how they think things are going. If they’re not fond of needing any help, they may complain a bit more than you’d like. Learn how to separate the general complaints from issues that should be addressed.
For example, your mom says that she doesn’t like the food that’s being made. Find out what food isn’t enjoyable to her. If it’s something you know she’s never liked, make sure the caregiver is aware of your mom’s likes and dislikes. If it’s something your mom used to love, see if there is a reason her tastes have changed. Dementia and tooth pain can be two likely causes.
Partner With Caregivers Who Stay in Touch
Your parents have caregivers helping out, but you haven’t heard anything in weeks. You don’t know how they’re doing and when you call, they don’t say much. Talk to a senior care agency that offers regular reports. If things are great, you should know. If there are issues, you also need to know that. Be sure to ask the specialist if reports are offered as part of a senior care plan.