In emergencies, or just on days of doctor and dentist appointments, it's so hard to arrive with all the necessary information for one's elderly parent, in updated form: medications, doctors' phone numbers, recent events in the care and medical history.
Here's how a friend of mine, Joyce Holman, handles it all:
I maintain a carefully crafted 2 pages of information about my mom that I update when there are changes to her medication or physician lists, & I give it to doctors & others as needed.
One page describes her medical conditions, preferences, limitations, cautions, & hospitalizations. It helps people to see her as more than an 85-year-old with Alzheimer's disease.
It has phone numbers for my family, the facility where she lives, her doctors, 2 hospitals & a rehab. center, & our minister.
The other page has each medication (its brand name & generic name) & over-the-counter drug or vitamin, dosage, reason, how long she's been taking it at that dose, & recent medicines that she's not taking anymore.
Another page I try to keep updated for the family is a list of all the health-related phone numbers.
I go to appointments with my parents to ask questions, take notes, be an advocate.
I've finally started a 3-ring binder as the repository for notes from health visits & phone calls, lab reports, medication details, disease specifics, symptoms to watch for, letters to doctors & to my mom's facility, the phone list, & the other 2 pages.
My parents' health care advance directives are already in the car, alongside an emergency kit & my overnight bag.
Congratulations, Joyce! May we all be so organized.