We Boomers Are in Medical La La Land If We Do Not Expect Medical Issues To Permeate Our Lives Now and NUMBER ONE TIP For Medical Survival Through Our Seventies

safe-use-medicinesThis Grandma has been living in medical La La Land. GG (Great Grandmother, now age 95) said live to the fullest and travel in ‘Young Old’ which is until age 84 because that starts ‘Old Old’ and your life changes drastically. I even asked each of my doctors if we Boomers can expect ‘Old Old’ to start later for our generation.  Each said age 90 would be likely be the start of  ‘Old Old.”  I naively believed that meant I would be medically healthy until age 90.  Now, just two years into the 70’s, and with traumatic and life threatening medical conditions hitting multiple immediate and extended family and friends, I know differently.

A clue that should have made me more aware that medical life would be different as I hit 70 is that I said doctors, plural, in the previous paragraph.

Not to say I have not fought aging, as I have, vigorously. I believe in exercise fending off aging.  I am a committed yogi, and selected this awesome exercise I could still do, and benefit from medically, into my nineties. I do power yoga, mixed with cardio, that I realize now, I am lucky I started in my fifties as it is challenging. Yes, I do more, strength and flexibility, in Pilates.  I follow all medical advice that I should be walking and doing stairs, but not as much as I feel I should.

This week my night stand got its third bottle of prescription medicine to take at bedtime. Reality has set in for me personally.  The United States Government has a website for the National Institute on Aging, which talks about multiple medications and what this means for us, and has a wealth of information we did not know we need, as we Boomers do not consider ourselves as aging.

We Boomers can expect that our conversations with our Boomer friends will include doctor visits, medications newly prescribed, and disease and illness, unfortunately many life threatening, more often than we expected.  I just got off the telephone with a long (we never said old) dear friend, who now heard of a heart procedure that three people need that we had never known of before.  We are learning more medical terms and of more variations of conditions that we ever knew existed.

I have learned this last year and some that I must be prepared for the unexpected, with multiple life threatening illnesses rearing their ugly heads, for those close to me.  It is hard to switch gears to believe we need to be prepared and proactive.  Because the tips, all at once, might seem overwhelming (I am type A and an overachiever), I am making my suggestions in categories in separate posts, one at a time.  They are strong suggestions that I hope will save lives, or at least improve the lives we have.  Please past the posts along to those you care about, at any age.

TIP NUMBER ONE is be prepared for the unexpected by having all of your medical information at your fingertips.

When you go to a new doctor, they want your history and medications. When you have a medical emergency, these are requested. When you go back to a doctor, you can advise of new medications prescribed to check drug interactions.  How many times does your doctor’s office ask for your pharmacy address and telephone number? It is safer and more efficient to have all your medical information noted in one place and at your fingertips on all your portable devices, and to print, scan, email, immediately when needed.

WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR MEDICAL PROFILE and the order of the medical profile, is from recent personal experience, and different than some of what I have read on line.

MEDICAL PROFILE: Do a medical profile of yourself.  Title it such.  Date it as you will notice it is not updated and then periodically update.  Have a computer folder for medical information and add this (although you will probably forget to add the most updated version). Put it in “Notes” on your devices.

QUESTIONS:  Have a subheading of “questions” at the top of your medical profile.  Hopefully, this section will remain empty, but most likely not.  This is your immediate, go to section, so it should be first to get to, note, and review immediately.  As medical issues arise or in anticipation of a next medical appointment, having this first has several purposes.  For example, when you are lying in bed experiencing a symptom or after a symptom, you can note date and time and symptom for discussion at next appointment, noting issues when they happen on the device next to your bed.  Where ever you are and whatever arises, it is good to have this first, to note, and as a reminder that this is the first place to look at every appointment or need to make a telephone call or doctor’s appointment if there are multiple symptoms noted or a symptom noted multiple times over days or weeks, such as a periodic rapid heart rate or a change in color of urine or stool or cough or pain that repeats itself or does not go away.  NEVER let the symptoms or changes get to months without action.  More about that later.

INSURANCE INFORMATION:  List your Medicare, secondary insurance, and addresses and needed telephone numbers.  If you are cautious, leave off the Medicare number and put it somewhere else under an obscure heading that you will know.  Don’t pick ‘aging,’ please.  I used ‘forever young’ but just changed it.

PHARMACIES: List your pharmacy, address and telephone number in each location your frequent.  Use a pharmacy such as CVS where you can refill prescriptions in other locations.

EMERGENCIES: List emergency contacts, address and telephone numbers. One should be your designated caregiver and yes, you will need to identify one. More about this later.  List closest emergency room, address and telephone number, that you would want to be taken to (it might not be the closest hospital for many reasons).

DOCTORS: List your doctors under subheadings of specialty, starting with General Practitioner. List address, telephone number, fax number (some medical information can only be transmitted by fax), email address, and note name of nurse and person you can contact in the office when you need to get to a real person who will respond to you and their direct line, if possible.  Don’t forget dentistry and alternative medical practitioners. I even put physical therapists and acupuncture professionals and have found I have needed one more than once.  I put my appointments here as well as on my calendar and when next appointment is (always make next appointment before leaving the office, even if it is annual and you might have to change it as the time gets closer. Remember how much telephone hold time otherwise).  The great thing about this section and pharmacy section is that when on our phones we can go directly to our medical profile and hit the telephone number link!

MEDICATIONS: List the medications you take, dosage and frequency. List when prescribed, by whom, and for what. List your vitamins and supplements, dosage and frequency and why you take them.  Yes, interactions may occur, and cause unexpected symptoms.

FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY:  List then diseases and illnesses of immediate family members.  Doctors do not seem interested in your grandparents’ diseases.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS:  List your medical conditions , when diagnosed and by whom. Under each note dates and summary of appointments, treatment, tests and test results (including blood testing so this can help you schedule one time for multiple doctors), progress. More about this section to come.  This is last for a reason.  If you are in medical La La Land, you will not realize that this section will be the longest after a time, and be added to the most.

HOW TO EXECUTE TIP NUMBER ONE MEDICAL PROFILE:

I know this is a time-consuming ONE TIME chore to create. I have done two of them.  Do the outline with all the headings first.  Cut and paste off the internet. Do it while watching mindless television in bed or in a doctor’s waiting room.  Do not try to do this all in one sitting. Do one section at a time.  However, please consider this a priority to create.  Emergencies happen.  It will save you time, effort and angst forever more.

DO NOT FORGET TO DATE YOUR WORK, EVEN WHEN NOT FULLY COMPLETE:

This will save you time and effort to know when you last made entries.  Remember, the medical profile is a work in progress for the rest of your life.  Save it and updates in a medical folder on your computer.

UPDATE:

Updating is another story. I, compulsive obsessive, surprised myself when I went to add my third prescription medication. The last complete review and update edit date was over a year ago!  I now decided that while I am waiting forever for the next doctor I visit, I will review and check his or her listings and my input as to the medical condition I am there for and any additional questions.  I hope I will not have time to do more than that.

BOOMER LIFE INCLUDES MEDICAL REALITY:

So as to not overwhelm, I will provide what I consider BOOMER MEDICAL REALITY tips in stages. This tip requires immediate action. Others will be suggestions for survival and life extension periodically.

It is hard to face medical reality when we are ‘Young old.’  When we note questions, and symptoms and issues contemporaneously as they happen, reality comes to us. . . .hopefully in time to cure us!

We must each be our own health advocate for longevity.

Emergencies will happen.

The 70’s are not as I expected medically.  The 70’s are medically challenging and we Boomers can rise to the task.

If you are the family caregiver, you will have to create a medical profile for your loved one(s).  I did.  I do.  I keep notes on questions and symptoms.

Medical monitoring of our health in our 70’s can be reached, bringing joy,

 

Mema

 

P.S. Your loved ones should not wait until age 70 to create a medical profile.  Past this post along to those family and friends you care about.

Speak Your Mind

*