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4 Tips for Managing Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

multiple health conditions

Most seniors manage more than 3 chronic health conditions

Many seniors manage three or more chronic conditions and see multiple doctors and specialists.

Having so many “cooks in the kitchen” can make staying healthy and maximizing quality of life especially challenging.

Chronic health issues like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease require frequent appointments and usually, daily medications.

With today’s uncoordinated medical care, it’s too easy for one doctor to overlook what other doctors have prescribed, possibly leading to conflicting treatments or negative medication side effects.

To prevent problems and get better care for your older adult, use this handy tip sheet from Health in Aging.

It has expert tips on managing multiple health conditions and communicating with doctors. Here, we share four key highlights from the tip sheet.


4 expert tips for managing multiple chronic health conditions

Health in Aging’s patient-centered tip sheet lists important questions to ask doctors. These are the four tips we found most useful (there are six in total).

1. Tell the doctor about your older adult’s priorities for care

  1. Ask for medications that work best for your older adult’s lifestyle, specific health needs, and overall comfort.

  2. Different medications can often reach the same treatment goal, but may work in different ways and have different side effects.

2. Ask about trade-offs between benefits and risks of treatments

  1. Ask the doctor how each option could affect your older adult’s comfort, overall well-being, and long-term health.

  2. It’s not always in your older adult’s best interest to choose the most aggressive option. Keep an open mind when considering different treatment options. Sometimes, gently managing a condition is a better approach.

3. Tell your doctor right away if a treatment doesn’t seem to be working or is causing problems

  1. Your parent or spouse shouldn’t have to suffer through side effects or drug interactions that the doctor couldn’t anticipate.

  2. If you immediately let the doctor know about problems that come up, they can search for alternatives.

4. Speak up if the treatment plan is too complicated, confusing, or unclear

  1. Before leaving the doctor’s office, get clear and detailed instructions in writing about new medications or treatments and how to add them to the current daily routine.

  2. Make sure you fully understand the instructions and that they’re as simple and easy-to-follow as possible.

  3. For example, you might ask questions like: Can this drug be taken at the same time as other medications? What time of day? Empty or full stomach?

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team Image: Resurgia Health Solutions

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