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Managing an elder's health care needs can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. Communicating with doctors, understanding medications, and coping with the daily issues surrounding chronic and acute illnesses are only a few of the factors involved. There are specifics about geriatric medical care to understand, as well as how to find a geriatric care physician, capitalize on office visits, and handle matters related to hospitalization and discharge.

Looking beyond the daily concerns, there are end-of-life care and bereavement issues to consider. As this chapter explains, preparation and organization can go a long way toward making many difficult tasks more manageable.

Throughout your caregiving experience, it helps to bear in mind that the mere act of addressing an elder's health care issues may compromise his or her dignity and independence. Maintaining both can be extremely important to the elder's emotional and physical well-being. To that end, take time to involve your elder as much as possible in making decisions. Ultimately, you'll both be glad you did.

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