(BPT) - As we get older, the ones we love inevitably age too. For many, there comes a time where you are no longer just a son, daughter or family member — you’re a caregiver. Ensuring your aging parent or loved one is able to manage and afford their medical treatments can have an enormous impact on their health and quality of life.
Dan Klein, president and CEO of the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, the largest independent charitable organization dedicated to helping people pay their out-of-pocket costs for prescribed treatments, offers five simple ways you can help an aging family member manage their treatment — so you can both live healthier and happier lives.
1. Meet with their doctor or healthcare provider.
Building a relationship with their healthcare provider will help lay the groundwork for future communication and care management. Before attending an appointment, talk to your parent or family member about their needs and concerns, make a list of the medications they are taking and the renewals they may need and determine together what you’d like to accomplish. If drug costs are a financial burden, don’t be shy about asking for samples or if there are less expensive generic equivalents available.
2. Check in with the pharmacist.
Connecting with your parent or family member’s pharmacist is an excellent way to become familiar with their treatment plan and ask questions about potential side effects and interactions of prescribed drugs. Be sure to ask about mail order options offered by some insurance plans and specialty pharmacies, which can save money and time by delivering a three-month supply of medication directly to their home.
3. De-clutter the medicine cabinet.
It is common for those struggling with chronic or multiple illnesses, particularly in old age, to have multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers, each with complicated regimens that may make it difficult to keep track of what pills to take and when. You can help by ensuring their medicines are organized, accessible and stored appropriately.
Auditing their medicine cabinet is a good place to start. Make note of anything that is running low and order refills where needed. You can visit fda.gov for information on how to appropriately dispose of medications that have expired or are no longer necessary.
A pill organizer box can help keep track of complicated treatment schedules and reduce the risk of missing a dose or doses. Free pill reminder apps, such as Medisafe Pill & Med Reminder, allow you to manage the accounts of multiple family members.
4. Review Medicare or insurance coverage.
Diagnoses and treatments can frequently change and it’s therefore important to ensure your parent or family member’s Medicare or insurance plan still meets their needs. It is worth paying particular attention to their prescription drug plan, which can differ year to year. Online tools, like The National Council on Aging’s Benefits Checkup Tool and Medicare Interactive sponsored by the Medicare Rights Center can help you review benefits and find the best option for them.
They may also be eligible for other Medicare programs — like a Low-Income Subsidy — that can lower out-of-pocket costs.
5. Find out if charitable financial assistance is available.
The PAN Foundation is one of several charities that provides financial assistance for out-of-pocket costs. You can learn more about patient assistance charities at panfoundation.org. You can also download FundFinder, a free app developed by the PAN Foundation that notifies you when assistance becomes available from any of the major charitable patient assistance foundations.
Without proper support, seniors may face a wide range of issues including limited mobility, chronic conditions, improper nutrition and feelings of loneliness. For example, older adults can have problems chewing or may take medications which interfere with their appetites. However, research shows lack of companionship may be the biggest challenge. Small gestures, like these simple acts of kindness, can go a long way toward improving a senior’s day.
Ways to Make the World a Better Place for Seniors
(Family Features) By 2050, the senior population (adults age 65 and older) will be more than double that of the world’s youngest citizens, and the number of people living beyond age 80 is expected to triple over the next 30 years.
As the aging population increases, some 11.3 million seniors are living alone, according to the Institute on Aging. In addition, women are twice as likely as older men to live by themselves.
Without proper support, seniors may face a wide range of issues including limited mobility, chronic conditions, improper nutrition and feelings of loneliness. For example, older adults can have problems chewing or may take medications which interfere with their appetites. However, research shows lack of companionship may be the biggest challenge.
In fact, an AARP survey found 1 in 5 adults over the age of 40 were “socially disconnected,” which can impact health. People who reportedly experienced loneliness and isolation had lower mental well-being scores, and those who were dissatisfied with their level of social engagement were more likely to report a decline in cognitive function, as well.
While anyone can benefit from a kind gesture, seniors are some of the most in-need members in many communities. There is likely a wide range of opportunities to enhance the lives of seniors in your area. Numerous programs and agencies exist to help you determine the best way to make a difference.
One example is Ready to Care, an initiative from Home Instead Senior Care that challenges people to complete weekly care missions. Each activity guides members through various ways to give to senior-related causes, learn about the aging crisis and issues impacting seniors, and serve seniors through small actions of kindness.
Most care missions are simple acts, such as opening a door, learning about Alzheimer’s or helping with a chore. Each week, a new mission is delivered to participants’ phones via text message.
Small gestures, like these simple acts of kindness, can go a long way toward improving a senior’s day.
Physical assistance: Most seniors are eager to retain their independence, but everyday tasks can pose fall risks or require exposure to harsh weather conditions that can be dangerous to older adults.
Social support: Loneliness is common among seniors, especially those who live alone. Show seniors in your area they have a meaningful place in the community and options for companionship.
Practical solutions: For various reasons, some seniors may be unable to complete everyday tasks. Offer a helping hand in their daily routines when possible.
How You Can Help
Consider these simple ways you can help the aging population by taking action and learning about issues impacting seniors:
To find more ways you can care for the seniors in your community, visit imreadytocare.com.SOURCE:
Home Instead Senior Care
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