10 Things you Better Know When an Aging Parent Falls Ill

You know, nobody around here is getting any younger. As my parents have recently passed the 60-year-old mark, I am ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t know what to do if one of them had a medical emergency. I know how I’d feel, but standing up and taking care of the situation is something entirely different.

The That’s Fit blog points to Mayo Clinic’s 10 Tips that can better prepare you for the inevitable day when you are called upon:

  1. Names of their doctors. If you don’t know anything else, this is probably the most important piece of information.
    Why? Chances are good that your parents’ doctors can provide much of the rest of the information needed as well as more details about your parents’ specific health histories.
  2. Birth dates. Often medical records and insurance information are cataloged according to birth date. This can improve communication in an emergency or a crisis.
  3. List of allergies. This is especially important if one of your parents is allergic to medication — penicillin, for example.
  4. Advance directives. An advance directive is a legal document that outlines a person’s decisions about his or her health care, such as whether or not resuscitation efforts should be made and the use of life-support machines.
  5. Major medical problems. This includes such diseases as diabetes or heart disease.
  6. List of medications. It’s especially important that a doctor know if your parent uses blood thinners.
  7. Religious beliefs. This is particularly important in case blood transfusions are needed.
  8. Insurance information. Know the name of your parents’ health insurance provider and their policy numbers.
  9. Prior surgery. List past medical procedures, such as cardiac bypass surgery.
  10. Lifestyle information. Do your parents drink alcohol or use tobacco?

You want to know the terrible thing? At this moment, I am only able to accurately answer a handful of these. Are you any different?

Aging parents: 10 things to know for an emergency [via That's Fit]
See also: .pdf worksheet available to track these answers

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