Seniors need someone to look out for their best interests
Visiting the doctor can be an exhausting blur for some older adults.
Many seniors aren’t able to fully understand what the doctor says, aren’t comfortable asking questions, don’t like to speak frankly about symptoms and concerns, or are too shy to insist on treatments that are in their best interests.
These older adults need a trusted relative, spouse, friend, or care manager to help them understand their medical conditions and treatment options as well as communicate and coordinate with doctors to get the best care possible.
We explain what a health advocate is and share 7 ways seniors benefit from having one.
What is a health advocate?
A health advocate helps someone navigate the medical system. They accompany seniors to appointments, talk with doctors, take clear notes, research health conditions, find specialists, and help manage health insurance and medical bills.
A health advocate doesn’t need to be a trained medical professional – in fact, the job is often done by a family caregiver.
If you’ve been caring for an older adult, this role probably sounds familiar to you. Most likely, your older adult has multiple health conditions and sees a variety of doctors or specialists.
Because each doctor doesn’t have an overall picture of their health and treatments, it’s up to you to help medical professionals understand the full situation so your older adult can get the right care.
7 senior health benefits from having a health advocate
When you act as your older adult’s health advocate, you improve their quality of life and overall health.
That’s because advocates help by:
1. Keeping track of old and new symptoms, problems with current treatments, or significant changes to discuss with the doctor.
2. Helping medical professionals understand the complete health situation and coordinating treatments to improve health problems without causing problems or side effects. And if side effects do become an issue, working with doctors to find a solution.
3. Managing current medications and making sure all medications and supplements are reviewed on a regular basis.
4. Going together to appointments and taking notes, bringing up important questions for the doctor, and making sure critical details aren’t overlooked.
5. Taking plenty of time to explain their health conditions, treatments, and why it’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions.
6. Finding the doctors, specialists, and hospitals that meet your older adult’s treatment needs and are covered by their insurance plan.
Recommended for you:
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- Better Senior Health from Improved Doctor Visits: 3 Top Communication Tips
- 14 Questions to Ask Doctors When Starting New Medications for Seniors
By DailyCaring Editorial Team