For many adults, going to the doctor is a regular aspect of life. Whether they are dealing with chronic health challenges and difficulties, or because they are more likely to contract illness and infection, older adults tend to go to the doctor more frequently than when they were younger. As a family caregiver, this is likely to mean you will accompany your parent to these appointments. You can be more than just a form of transportation, and a source of physical support to deal with mobility issues. You can also help your parent through the appointment so they can get the most benefit.
Use these tips to help your senior through a doctor’s appointment so they can get the most benefit:
- If your senior has been sick, consider keeping records of their symptoms. That should include their temperature if you take it regularly, the severity of their symptoms, how frequently they experience symptoms, and anything else that might relieve those symptoms. Bring these notes along with you so you can ensure your parent shares all the information necessary.
- Make sure your parent is the central focus of the conversation. Even if they are not able to communicate effectively, the doctor should never talk about them as if they are not there. Instead, questions and comments should be directed to your parent, or at least your parent should be acknowledged each time the doctor talks to show proper respect, and encourage your parent to be as involved as possible.
- Encourage your senior to ask any questions they might have. Many elderly adults feel hesitant to ask questions because they feel as though they are wasting the time of the doctor. Make sure your parent understands this is not the case, and it is the doctor’s responsibility to ensure that they have all the information they need, and feel confident about taking care of their health.
- If you do not feel as though your parent has gotten enough details, or you can tell they don’t fully understand, be willing to step in and ask more questions. Do not settle for feeling only partially informed, or thinking you’ll need to do research. Be willing to seek out the details you both need.
- Remind your parent that they don’t need to be shy or “strong” in front of the doctor. They should be completely honest about what they’ve been going through so the doctor can help them cope with it.
When you took on the role of being a family caregiver for your aging parent, you likely felt the need to manage all of their challenges and limitations yourself. You wanted to show them how much you love and care about them, and ensure they got everything they need to manage their challenges and limitations in the best ways possible. As you continue caring for them, you may have noticed this care responsibility is more challenging than you expected, or that your parent needs further care. Fortunately, elderly care can be there for you. Introducing an elderly home care services provider into your senior’s care routine is not about you not wanting to care for them, or not caring about the quality of their care. Instead, it is a way to ensure your senior gets everything they need, and can enjoy the most benefit from this care and support.