4 Expert Tips for Managing Multiple Chronic Health Conditions in Seniors

multiple health conditions

Most seniors manage more than 3 chronic health conditions

Many seniors manage three or more chronic conditions and see multiple doctors and specialists. Having so many “cooks in the kitchen” can make staying healthy and maximizing quality of life especially challenging.

Chronic health issues like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease require frequent appointments and usually, daily medications.

With today’s uncoordinated medical care, it’s too easy for one doctor to overlook what other doctors have prescribed, possibly leading to conflicting treatments or negative medication side effects.

To prevent problems and get better care for your older adult, we found a handy tip sheet on patient-centered care from Health in Aging. It has advice for communicating with doctors and expert tips on managing multiple health conditions.




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4 expert tips for managing multiple chronic health conditions

Health in Aging’s  patient-centered tip sheet has advice from 11 geriatrics experts from the American Geriatrics Society. It lists important questions to ask doctors and guides you on taking clear notes.

Here, we’ve summarized the four tips we found most useful:

1. Tell the doctor about your older adult’s priorities for care

  • Ask for medications that work best for your older adult’s lifestyle, specific health needs, and overall comfort.
  • Different medications can often reach the same treatment goal, but may work in different ways and have different side effects.

2. Ask about trade-offs between benefits and risks of treatments

  • Ask the doctor how each option could affect your older adult’s comfort, overall well-being, and long-term health.
  • It’s not always in your older adult’s best interest to choose the most aggressive option. Keep an open mind when considering different treatment options. Sometimes, gently managing a condition is a better approach.

3. Tell your doctor right away if a treatment doesn’t seem to be working or is causing problems

  • Your parent or spouse shouldn’t have to suffer through side effects or drug interactions that the doctor couldn’t anticipate.
  • If you let the doctor know about problems that come up, they can search for alternatives.

4. Get detailed instructions for the recommended treatment plan

  • Before leaving the doctor’s office, get clear and detailed instructions in writing about new medications and how to add them to the current regime.
  • Important details include: Can this drug be taken at the same time as other medications? What time of day? Empty or full stomach?

 

Next Step  Print this tip sheet for the next doctor’s appointment – Living with Multiple Health Problems: What Older Adults Should Know, from Health in Aging (PDF)

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Resurgia Health Solutions

 

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