When caring for an older loved one, balance is key. You want to offer as much care and support as you can while not crossing the boundaries that preserve a senior’s self-esteem and individual freedom. This is especially the case when dealing with making important medical care decisions and senior doctor visits.
There are a number of conflicts that can arise in regards to around an aging family member’s health care. For example:
- The person may choose to withhold information from the physician or downplay troubling symptoms.
- You may feel strongly about one course of treatment even though the senior favors another.
- The senior may feel self-conscious going over sensitive information with the doctor that you feel ought to be discussed.
The key to obtaining the best outcome for the person is pre-planning. Think through these important concerns before, during, and after the next senior doctor visit:
Ahead of the Appointment
- Set up the appointment for a time when both you and the senior are most alert and energized. If either of you feels exhausted late in the afternoon, for instance, stick to morning appointments.
- Identify the concerns that you think ought to be discussed with the doctor. Come to an agreement about what is most comfortable for the senior with regards to these topics. For instance, the individual might want you to be in the exam room to advocate and summarize concerns, but may like you to leave the room when it comes to the actual health check, coming back afterwards to take notes about the doctor’s recommendations.
- In the event that the person does not want to address something you consider to be important, like cognitive problems or the need to consider giving up the car keys, set up a call with the physician before the visit to let them know your concerns.
During the Appointment
- When possible, allow the senior to answer the doctor’s questions on their own. However, be prepared to jump in when needed, or to talk about additional details the person might have missed.
- Advocate for the senior by asking additional questions to make sure they are clear about the information being provided, especially if the doctor is asking the senior to make a decision about what they would like to do next.
- Ask for a demonstration of any tasks the doctor is asking you to help with, for instance cleaning and redressing a wound, and inquire about any resources specific to the person’s particular health condition(s).
After the Appointment
- Talk to the senior on the way home about what they thought about the appointment. What concerns do they have? What went well? Go over the doctor’s recommendations together so that you both understand the next steps.
- If you have any other questions or there are questions you forgot to ask during the appointment, call the office immediately to get the information you need.
- If you find yourselves at an impasse regarding a significant medical decision, or are encountering continuing conflict with each other, consult with the doctor about this as well. It’s also a great idea to contact a family counselor or any other trusted, objective professional who can help you get through your differences in a healthy way.
For additional tips to make sure the next doctor’s visit goes smoothly and all of the doctor’s recommendations are clearly understood and followed, get in touch with Live Free Home Health Care’s Concord home health care experts. Our care team is here to help provide transportation and accompaniment to appointments, provide medication reminders, pick up prescriptions, and much more. Contact us at 603-217-0149 to learn more! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.