Keeping Up With Mom's Medical Care

National Institute on Aging

Health care experts recommend that you start by learning as much as you can about your parent’s illness, current treatments, and its likely course. This information will be essential as you help your parent and the primary caregiver cope with day-to-day concerns, make decisions, and plan for the future.

When you visit your parent, consider going along on a doctor’s appointment (check that your parent does not mind having you there). Some long-distance caregivers say that making a separate appointment with a doctor allows them to seek more detailed information and answers to questions. These appointments must be paid for out-of-pocket.

You must have permission to have any conversation with your parent's doctor. Ask your parent to complete a release form that allows the doctor to discuss his or her health care with you. Be sure the release is up-to-date and that there’s a copy in your parent’s records in addition to keeping a back-up copy for your files.

Evaluating Health Information Online

Many people search online to find information about medical concerns. But not all health information online is of equal quality. The following questions may help you decide if the information you find online is reliable:

  • Who is responsible for the content?
  • What are the author’s credentials?
  • Is the purpose and goal of the sponsoring organization clearly stated?
  • Is there a way to contact the sponsor for more information?
  • Is the website supported by public funds or donations?
  • Is advertising separate from content?

©2007 National Institute of Aging

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