Managing Care for an Aging Family Member: Where to Start

The responsibility of caring for the needs of an aging loved one can be dizzying. Managing the specifics of their care needs can seem impossible to stay on top of and they evolve constantly. In any situation like this, it’s important to stop and consider a few crucial points to guide you down the right path in caring for your older family member. Once you have a better picture of their needs and where they will go, you can make an informed plan of action for their care. 

What Level of Care is Required

When you first approach the topic of providing support for your loved ones’ care, their needs will likely be basic. Perhaps things like helping with transportation to and from doctor’s appointments if they’re no longer driving themselves. If their mental state begins to decline you will need to be ready to take a more active role in ensuring that any treatment plans are being followed diligently, and this can include the administration of medications. It’s at this point that the stakes are much higher for personal accountability, as any errors in proper medication administration can have dire and potentially life-threatening consequences. 

If the idea of managing the dosing of several medications multiple times each day seems overwhelming or simply impossible due to your schedule and obligations, you may want to start thinking ahead. Perhaps utilizing a care tool or utilizing the services of an in-home care giver to manage the aspects of treatment that you’re not comfortable performing or to ensure the safety and health of your loved one when you’re not around.

At some point, the needs of a loved one can rise to the level where constant care and observation are required around the clock. For even the most dedicated and able family member this level of care simply isn’t possible to maintain. In order to guarantee the health and safety of your family member, they will need to move into a residential care facility. There, skilled medical professionals can make sure that every aspect of their needs, mental and physical, are managed and treated with the utmost care. 

Managing Costs 

The transition between various stages of care comes with many considerations, but the most pressing is often financial. Depending on the insurance coverage your loved one has and your own financial situation, costs and the impact of them can vary drastically. 

You need to become well-versed in the benefits that your family member has at their disposal. With the number of prescriptions numbering into double digits, costs on even basic medications can sometimes get out of hand. Always use a service like GoodRX to make sure you’re getting the best prices on any medications. Often your insurance copay can be higher than the cost afforded to you by the groups that GoodRX and other services utilize.

The biggest costs however come when your time or ability is no longer enough to care for your family member and a medical professional needs to be hired for in-home or residential care. It’s important that if your loved ones’ needs anticipate the use of this more intensive level of care, to plan early. 

Consider Their Ability to Manage Finances and Decisions

Perhaps the most difficult part of having an aging family member is the possibility of mental decline. With it comes the emotional burden but also potential responsibility for the well-being of your loved one. When they can no longer manage their medical needs it’s often not long before the matter of personal finances needs to be addressed. 

As was mentioned before, if you and your loved one anticipate a time in their future where these needs will need to be managed by someone else, it’s crucial to have a plan in place prior to that time. This can include setting aside money for future care and setting up something like an advanced directive so you have the legal authority to act on their behalf should they become incapacitated or unable to represent their best interests adequately. 

Keep it All Together

Making sure that you’re executing all aspects of your loved ones’ treatment plan is critical, but with a dizzying number of medications and appointments, it can be overwhelming to say the least. You’ll quickly end up with a book of medication administration records that can be impossible to keep track of, and even worse you won’t be able to provide oversight to the medical professionals guiding their care. 

Synkwise makes managing every aspect of your family members’ care far simpler. In one place you can keep track of their medication administration, upcoming appointments as well as tracking vitals to help their doctors identify trends in health that can be addressed proactively. And if the time ever comes where your loved one needs to have their care managed entirely by a residential facility you can transfer the records of their care easily and securely, providing the most complete picture of their health for the best possible care. If you or someone you know is just beginning to consider the needs of an aging loved one contact us today to find out more about how we can help you stay on top of it all.