July 6, 2021
Why You Should Make Dad’s Data a Kitchen Table Topic
Family involvement in managing seniors’ care is notoriously complicated because, well, family can be complicated. It can be difficult as a daughter, spouse, brother, or grandkid to make logical decisions about a loved one. What’s more, conflicting opinions, personalities and priorities can make it impossible to focus on one issue at a time and agree on a path forward.
Data can quickly separate fact from feelings and help families cut through the chaos, reduce caregiver stress, or just become more engaged. Numbers and observable trends are valuable information that can anchor a healthy discussion over lunch and even over e-mail. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth including data reviews in those kitchen table conversations.
Starting from the Same Source of Truth
A central, consolidated repository where data is housed and tracked ensures everyone is working with the same set of facts. This foundation paints a full picture for spouses, kids, and agency caregivers.
Prioritizing and Dividing Support
Numbers make it easy to identify allocate resources to the most serious issues first. This is especially useful for family members who may be new to the caregiver role and feeling overwhelmed and ill equipped. Seeing the data trends over time also could highlight potentially dangerous stress levels among caregivers.
Managing Mom’s Stubborn Streak
Scores are easy to understand, even if they are hard to accept. Speaking to an aging parent about changes in support can be less emotional when there is a number attached to their chances of losing independence. Numbers can combat denial and avoidance, and serve as an invitation to participate in decisions.
Making Informed, Collaborative Decisions
It’s important for adult children or other family members to understand the reasons for care decisions and how they may impact the family, even if they may not agree. Data can provide a framework and consistent talking points to minimize worry and blame.
So, where can I find centralized stats?
Well, we obviously love PFMIPro which is deployed in professional senior care teams across the country to track factors that impact independence. The data can be shared with families to spark engagement and facilitate care decisions. In our January post, Buzzworthy New Tech for Seniors, we highlighted connected devices that often come with a share-able data feeds. Finally, ask the doctor for data sharing programs or check out these apps that sync to Medicare’s Blue Button health information.