Change is in the wind – have you noticed? The time change. The weather change. The season change (We can't WAIT for spring. My senior mom is especially counting the seconds til she can get back to all of her delightful gardening activities! ). But nowhere is that more true than with the medical field which is experiencing a whole BUNCH of changes. And those changes can directly or indirectly have a huge impact on some or all of our Sandwich Generation family.
My senior mom and I have both received several mailings from various government and medical organizations letting us know about some of those changes that may or are happening. I'm hearing plenty of stories from friends – on AND offline – good and bad. And we've been seeing many little changes being put into place BECAUSE of the big changes that are coming.
This week, we saw some local changes that can make life more difficult for our senior parents – and those caring for them. In our area, the government has passed laws to make it more difficult to obtain certain "controlled substances" – meaning pain medication.
I understand the reasoning behind it. Drug abuse continues to rise and lately prescription pain medicine is the preferred drug of choice – for young AND old. But it does mean everyone taking these medications, including our beloved seniors – or ourselves, may have to go in to the doctor's office more often for checkups, pick one pharmacy and stick with it (there goes comparison price shopping for some items) and have occasional random urine tests to ensure they are not abusing their medications.
The positive side of that, of course, is that other illnesses that might go too long unnoticed and untreated, like Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) may get discovered, providing the doctor's office tests for those kinds of conditions at the same time. I will certainly request that of our doctors in the future.
How about you? Are you noticing anything different when you go to the doctor's office or hospital with your aging parents? We'd love a quick heads up. Even if it's a local change, it could be an indicator of what will eventually be a national change. It definitely pays to be proactive and prepared. Not to mention, dress extra comfort-ably for whatever may come and – apparently – drink a ton of water before we go the doctor's office from now on.
P.S. Don't forget to wear green on March 17th. AND HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY TO ALL OF US – IN AND OUT OF THE SANDWICH GENERATION !