When Should You Become Your Aging Parent’s Health Care Advocate?”

This post may be of interest to adult children who may need to step in and help a parent with health care at some point.

This post is about an article on Next Avenue titled “When Should You Become Your Aging Parent’s Health Care Advocate?”  Brain Support Network volunteer Denise Dagan reviewed the article and shared her insights below.  Take it away Denise….

This article faces the reality that as an adult child, if your parents are still living, they will probably need you to step in and help with their health care, at some point.  These responsibilities often start off small, but may increase, so it is best to plan for the future with your parent(s), sooner than later.

Have a conversation covering parents’ end of life preferences.  Remember that your concerns may not be their concerns.  You should review legal documents, understand their insurance coverage, and know the plan to care for their chronic medical conditions.

As an adult child you are usually able to be in the exam room with your parent (although they may need to sign a HIPAA release, especially if you want to make inquiries about their health over the phone) but to guarantee it, have your parent(s) name you as durable power of attorney (POA) for healthcare.  That way, “you have legal leverage.”

Finally, there is a really complete list of tips on being well prepared for every medical appointment, even pointing out you don’t need to ask the doctor (or specialist) everything.  There are pharmacists, nurses, physician’s assistants, etc. who can often be very helpful because doctor appointments are very short.

One tip from me – my doctor once said he is putting in my chart to always schedule me for double appointment time because I had such a list of questions and in the standard appointment time, he couldn’t get to them all without getting off his schedule.  Maybe your doctor would agree to do the same?  I don’t know, but someone once told me, “If you never ask the question, the answer is always, ’No!’”

Here’s a link to the article:


When Should You Become Your Aging Parent’s Health Care Advocate?
What to consider when your help is increasingly needed
By Eileen Beal, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
Next Avenue
August 29, 2016