As we age, maintaining optimal health and managing chronic illness becomes more and more of a challenge, especially since there is rarely just one health concern to address. In fact, more than 50% of American seniors over the age of 65 are dealing with three or more chronic illnesses. Managing multiple health issues can often be confusing and overwhelming for many seniors and caregivers. Without the administration of proper care, seniors’ health can quickly deteriorate and impact quality of life.

The good news is that a little planning and support can go a long way toward improved health. Here are a few things to set you on the right track:

Don’t skip the annual wellness visit, even if it seems like everything is in good working order. A primary care physician may be able to detect early, silent symptoms and mitigate future health concerns. Additionally, being in good health at a wellness visit helps doctors determine a healthy baseline for patients and makes it easier to identify concerns when they do occur.

Understand the health issues completely and know the priorities. Whether patient or caregiver, it’s imperative to understand just how each illness affects the body, options for treatment and the side effects and interactions of treatment. In some cases multiple treatments can mean that not all care goals are met to the fullest, for example a senior who values independence may opt out of a treatment that impacts that goal, even if this means shorter life expectancy.

Discuss priorities early and work with the physician to build a care plan that best meets the needs defined.

Keep communicating, this is key for long-term wellness. Illnesses can change or go into remission, new concerns can develop, or maybe priorities for care have changed. No matter the scenario, keeping the medical team informed and voicing concerns are all a part of managing proper care.

Additionally, multiple illnesses can also mean the need for collaboration with multiple physicians and specialists. Capturing all of the necessary medical information and planning in one central location with electronic medical records (EMR) can be a real lifesaver. Working with physicians like Clare Medical, who use this technology ensures all caregivers have up-to-date information about patient specific health issues at their fingertips, which can be vital in the event of an emergency.

Navigating care with multiple chronic illnesses can be daunting, but engaging the proper support can make a world of difference. Start planning for your care or that of a loved one today and contact an advisor to bring Clare to physicians to your door.

Sources and Resources:

HealthinAging.org

Fallon Health

Meeting the Challenge of Managing Seniors with Multiple Complex Conditions