#12 – How can I keep up with my mom’s medical care? I don’t know where to start.

Click here to see the prior item in this series:  We are going to spend our vacation with my mom to see how we can make her house safer.  How can we make the best use of our time?

How can I keep up with my mom’s medical care? I don’t know where to start.

Healthcare experts recommend that you start by learning as much as you can about your parent’s illness, its likely course, and current treatments. 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. You can do this by discussing your mom’s diagnosis with your own healthcare provider or gathering reliable health information. Contacting a government agency, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or visiting its website, www.nih.gov, is a good way to find information you can trust. When you visit your parent, consider going along on a doctor’s appointment—first check that your parent does not mind having you there. You must have your parent’s permission to have any conversation with his or her doctor or to discuss healthcare bills with Medicare or other health insurance.

Ask your parent to complete a release form that allows the doctor to discuss his or her medical care with you. Be sure the release is up-to-date and that there’s a copy in your parent’s medical records, in addition to keeping a backup copy for your files.  Some long-distance caregivers say that making a separate appointment with a doctor allows them to seek more detailed information and answers to questions. You might have to pay for these appointments yourself. Or, see if the doctor will agree to provide email or telephone updates to you or other family members who live out of town

Click here to see the next item in this series:  How do I evaluate health information online?

 Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.


Within Acorn’s service area of Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina (Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Morrisville, Cary, and Apex) the following resources may be especially helpful:

  • Orange County Department on Aging, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516, (919) 968-2070
  • Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Avenue – Suite 202, Durham, North Carolina   27701, (919) 688-8247
  • Chatham County Council on Aging, 365 North Carolina 87, Pittsboro, North Carolina   27312, (919) 542-4512
  • Triangle J Area Agency on Aging, 4307 Emperor Boulevard
- Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, 919-558-2711
  • Resources for Seniors (Wake County), 1110 Navaho Dr.  – Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27609, 919-872-7933