When caring for an older loved one, it is always a balancing act. You have to provide as much help and support as you can without overstepping the boundaries that preserve a senior’s self-esteem and personal independence. This is especially true regarding making critical health care decisions.
There are a variety of disputes that can emerge in regards to an aging family member’s health. For example:
- The person may want to withhold information from the physician or minimize troubling symptoms.
- You may possibly prefer one treatment while the senior prefers another.
- Your loved one may feel self-conscious going over sensitive information with the doctor that you think needs to be shared.
The secret to achieving the best outcome for the person is preparation. Think through these doctor’s appointment tips before, during, and after the next visit:
Ahead of the Appointment
- Set up the appointment at a time when both you and the senior are most present and energized. If either of you feels tired in the late afternoon, for example, schedule morning appointments.
- Identify the problems that you think should be discussed with the doctor. Arrive at an agreement about what is most comfortable for the senior regarding these issues. For instance, the person might want you to be with them during the doctor visit to advocate and clarify concerns, but may like you to leave the room when it comes to the actual health check, coming back afterwards to take notes regarding the doctor’s recommendations.
- In the event that the individual will not address something that you consider to be important, such as cognitive problems or the need to consider giving up the car keys, schedule a call with the doctor ahead of the visit to let them know your concerns.
During the Visit
- When possible, let the senior answer the doctor’s questions on their own. However, be prepared to jump in when needed, or to talk about additional details the person could have forgotten.
- Advocate for the senior by asking further questions to make sure they are clear about the information being provided, specifically if the doctor is asking the senior to make a decision about next steps.
- Ask the doctor to demonstrate any tasks you will have to help with, such as cleaning and redressing a wound, and inquire about any information unique to the senior’s particular health condition(s).
After the Appointment
- Talk with the senior on the way home about what they thought about the appointment. What went well? What concerns do they have? Study 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 inquire about during the appointment, call the office right away to get the information you need.
- If you find yourselves at an impasse regarding a vital medical decision, or are dealing with continuing conflict with each other, talk with the physician about this as well. It is also a wise idea to contact a family counselor or another trusted, unbiased professional who is able to help you work through your differences in a healthy way.
For more information on how to make sure the next doctor’s appointment goes smoothly and all of the doctor’s guidelines are clearly understood and followed, contact Home With You Senior Care, a trusted provider of home care in Taneytown, MD and the surrounding areas. Our aging care experts are here to help provide transportation and accompaniment, pick up prescriptions, provide medication reminders, and more. Give us a call at 410-756-0959 to find out more!