The John A. Hartford Foundation fights for age-friendly healthcare. Too many times, senior citizens and their family members aren’t sure where to demand change or where to focus attention. Here are the 4M’s.

(What) Matters Most

What matters most? That’s the question you and your parents need to ask. What are their preferences when it comes to care? Are they happy with their doctor or do they feel that their input is ignored?

Every older adult needs to come up with a care plan. This should answer the basics like advance directives/living will wishes and DNR orders. Make sure you know whether they’d want to have to move from their home if there was a change to their health.

If your mom moved, would she want to travel to her old doctor or would she be okay switching? Is she more comfortable with a female doctor? How about your dad? Would they want people to know if their health changed?


How much do your parents know about any medications they take? Do they know all of the side effects? Should they take their pills on an empty stomach or with a meal? Do they take pills with milk, water, or juice? Should they take pills before bed or when getting up?

They also need to know it’s okay to tell the doctor if the medications they’re taking are too expensive. The doctor may know of a rebate, discount, or generic brand that will same them money.

If they’re taking a medication that seems to affect their stability, mental acuity, or appetite, the doctor needs to know. If the medication is causing side effects that could impact their health, it’s time to look at other options.

Mental Health and Wellness

Depression affects about 6.5 million older Americans. Yet, many don’t tell their doctors. Sometimes, the doctors don’t diagnose it properly. It’s estimated that 20 percent of all older adults who commit suicide saw their doctor before committing suicide.

If there are memory lapses, prolonged feelings of sadness, or anxiety issues, your parent needs to feel comfortable talking about it. It’s common and not something to feel ashamed of or embarrassed by.


A simple fall may not be so simple. A fracture or head injury can be catastrophic. One of the ways to avoid falling is by setting fall prevention techniques into action.

Making simple improvements around the house can help prevent a fall. Grab bars, sturdy stair rails, and lighting improvements help. Remove decorative rugs and fix loose carpeting.

Exercises that help with stability and muscle strength are also important. Yoga, Tai Chi, and bicycling help with muscle tone and balance.

Make sure your parents have help when it’s needed. If your mom and dad struggle with daily routines, it may be time to hire caregivers. They can help with meals, housekeeping, transportation, and medication reminders. Call a home care agency to discuss hiring caregivers.


If you are considering home care services in West Houston TX, for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at At Your Side Home Care. We will answer all of your senior care questions. Call today: (832) 271-1600.

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