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As your parents grow older, they often start developing medical conditions that they need help with. An important aspect of being an active caregiver for your elderly parent is accompanying them for doctor visits and playing an active role in these visits.

When you accompany your parents on these visits, you can help them with reporting the symptoms more accurately and making sure that any crucial information is not left out.

To be a part of the conversation, it’s important to educate yourself on the current health status of your elderly parent. You need to develop an understanding of what they require from the appointments and how you can come to their aid.

Most of us do not have the sufficient knowledge or plan to help our parents with their doctor visits. However, part of the process is learning as you go along. You need to approach these visits with preparation since the time you would have with the doctor will be limited. It’s important to be organized and efficient so that you can cover all the important topics with the doctor during the visit.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some important tips for taking your aging parents to appointments. These tips will cover everything that you need to do before, during, and after the appointment.

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Before the Appointment

Before you take your parents to their medical appointments, there are two things that you should do:

1. Talk to your parents.

Setting aside some time to inquire about the health of your parents is important before you take them for a medical appointment. You can ask if they have problems with their medications, or if they have any specific questions that they wish to ask the doctors.

Also try to observe if their lifestyle, habits, medical condition, appearance, and mood have undergone any change lately. This could indicate that their medical needs are not being met adequately.

The medical needs of elderly parents can be quite complex. When you talk to your parents before the appointment, you will be able to ensure that all their medical needs are adequately addressed during the visit.

2. Gather information.

After inquiring about the health of your parent, the next thing you have to do is prepare yourself for the appointment. This means gathering and organizing all the information you need for the visit.

Not only will this information be useful for the doctor, but it will also help you keep focused and calm.

Take a notepad and a pen and write down the questions you need to ask so that you don’t miss out on anything. Besides this, also organize all the medical records and the list of medications prescribed previously, so that the doctor knows your parents’ medical histories.

During the Doctor’s Visit

1. Take notes about your parents’ health status.

During the visit, you would also need to note down the vital signs being recorded by the health technician. Ask them about the health status of your parent, especially if your parent suffers from diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Note down the target numbers and whether they are within the normal limit.

Ask the doctor for medications and lifestyle modification advice to manage the condition better. If your parent suffers from progressive diseases like COPD, dementia, etc., you should also ask the doctor if it has advanced and what changes could be expected in the future.

2. Manage their medicines.

Since the medical conditions of elderly parents are often quite complex, it can be difficult for them to manage their medications.

You can help your parents by asking the doctor to explain the medications and other important aspects of it. For example,

  • How does the medicine work?
  • How should it be taken?
  • Whether it should be taken with food or on an empty stomach.
  • Reason for prescribing.
  • Whether there are any possible side effects?
  • Whether it is a short-term or long-term medication.
  • Things that should be avoided, like beverages, foods, and OTC medications.

3. Lifestyle management advice.

It’s also important to discuss your parent’s lifestyle concerns with the doctor. You can ask the doctor to suggest any lifestyle modifications (exercise or diet) that can help in improving the health of your parent. You should also inquire about the precautions that should be taken to prevent any infections, especially if your parents are immune-compromised.

Stress can often be a big factor in worsening health conditions in older patients. You can also ask the doctor if your parent requires stress management methods to deal with their health issues.

4. Ask questions.

This is the most important part of the process. Make sure that you don’t overlook any important detail, and ask questions from the doctor if you have doubts about something. Also, make sure to ask your parent if they have any doubts or questions.

5. Inquire about follow-up care.

Ask the doctor if there is any follow-up care required after the appointment. Also ask how you can help your parent in getting better after taking them home.

After the Doctor’s Visit

Your responsibility as your parents’ caregiver continues even after the visit is complete. You can explain the instructions given by the doctor to your parents.

For helping them keep a better track, you can write down the instructions and prescribed medications, and place them in an area where they would be visible to them. If some follow-up care and tests are required, make a note of them in your calendar.

It’s important for aging people to have loved ones they can trust by their side for potentially complex situations, like doctor appointments. When you are accompanying your parents on these visits, you are essentially acting as their health advocate.

In addition to helping them with their appointments, it’s also a great time to talk to them about their living will, healthcare power of attorney, and last will and testament. If they don’t have any of these documents, now is the time. Learn more here: The Importance of Having Powers of Attorney


About the writer

Quotacy is the country’s leading broker for buying life insurance online. We are obsessed with making it easy for everyone who has loved ones who depend upon them to have life insurance.