When caring for an older loved one, balance is key. You intend to provide as much help and support as you can without overstepping the boundaries that protect a senior’s self-esteem and personal independence. It is particularly true with regards to making essential medical care decisions.
There are a number of clashes that can arise in regards to a senior loved one’s health. For example:
- The person may want to hold back information from the doctor or downplay troubling symptoms.
- It’s possible you’ll prefer one treatment option while the senior favors another.
- The senior may feel embarrassed discussing sensitive information with the doctor that you feel must be discussed.
The key to achieving the best outcome for the person is prepping for senior doctor visits. Think through these key considerations before, during, and after the next doctor’s appointment:
Ahead of the Appointment
- Set up the appointment at a time when both you and your loved one are most present and energized. If either of you feels tired in the late afternoon, for example, stick with morning appointments.
- Talk about the issues that you feel ought to be discussed with the doctor. Arrive at an agreement about what is most comfortable for the senior with regards to this information. For example, the individual may want you in the exam room to advocate and describe concerns, but may like you to leave the room when it is time for the actual medical exam, coming back afterwards to take notes on the doctor’s recommendations.
- If the person does not want to address something you consider to be crucial, such as changes in cognition or a recent fall, arrange for a call with the doctor prior to 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 individual might have forgotten.
- Advocate for the senior by asking additional questions to clarify the information being provided, particularly if the doctor is asking the senior to make a decision about how to proceed.
- Ask the doctor to demonstrate any tasks you will have to assist with, for instance cleaning and redressing a wound, and inquire about any resources unique to the person’s particular health condition(s).
Following the Appointment
- Chat with the senior on the ride home about what they thought about the appointment. What concerns do they have? What went well? Review the doctor’s recommendations together so that you both understand the next steps.
- If there are additional questions that arise 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 unable to make a decision about an important medical decision or are encountering continuing conflict with each other, talk with the physician about this as well. It is also a great idea to contact a family counselor or another trusted, objective professional who is able to help you get through your differences in a healthy way.
For additional tips to ensure that the next doctor’s appointment goes smoothly and all of the doctor’s recommendations are clearly understood and followed, contact Anthem Home Care, a dedicated provider of home care and memory care in Portland, TX and the surrounding area. Our in-home care experts are here to help provide transportation and accompaniment to appointments, provide medication reminders, pick up prescriptions, and much more. Give us a call at 361-643-2323 to find out more!