Steps to Take Before an Elderly Parent's Doctor Appointment


Taking care of an elderly parent can become extremely stressful, especially when health is concerned. Many elderly parents feel they can take care of themselves without help, since they have been able to do so for many years prior. Adult children taking care of their parents can also feel uncomfortable about the role reversal, not wanting to alienate them. It is, however, very important to keep track of their doctor appointments and medications. As we age we tend to have more frequent lapses in memory, which can be very detrimental to their well-being if they are put in charge of their own health. Missing medications or doctor appointments can have serious effects. If you are unable to attend these appointments, a homecare company can provide assistance.

Steps to take prior to your elderly parent's doctor appointment

There are several important things to do before going to their doctor appointment. If you live with your older parent it will be easier to notice changes and monitor his diet and medication. If you do not live with him, you should make it a point to check in on him often to notice changes in behavior or illnesses. If you do notice any changes it is important to document everything so that you can accurately describe your observations to the doctor or the homecare services provider that will be attending the appointment. Depending on the mental state of your elderly parent, it is essential to keep him informed about what is going on. Keeping him up-to-date will give him a sense of control which will make things easier on both of you.

Use this checklist before taking your elderly parent to a doctor's appointment:

  • Make a list of all medications, including supplements, and the times at which they are taken
  • Note changes in behavior, appetite, sleep, mood, memory, and mobility
  • Take time to talk to your elderly parent to discuss these changes
  • Unless there is an emergency, schedule doctor appointments once all information is collected
  • Make a list of questions to ask the doctor
  • Ask your elderly parent to make a list of his own questions
  • If you are relying on a homecare services company, take time to speak to the caregiver about all of these observations
  • Bring all previous records from other doctors with you to the appointment

Questions to ask at an elderly parent's doctor appointment

Questions are extremely important when attaining your elderly parent's doctor appointments. There are no stupid questions when it comes to his health. Even if you think you know the answer, it is imperative to consult with the doctor. Ask the following questions, or have a homecare services company consult on your behalf, to help your elderly parent better understand his health:

  • What is the diagnosis?
  • What, if any, are the new medications being prescribed?
  • What are the side effects of the medications?
  • Will the medication interact with any other prescriptions?
  • How often should the medication be taken?
  • What changes should I look for?
  • Is a change in diet required?
  • Are there any follow-up tests that need to be done?
  • Can I have copies of his records and tests?

Remember to keep asking questions until you fully understand what care is needed. You may also want to make a follow-up appointment with the doctor by yourself to ask other sensitive questions you may not want to discuss if front of them. If you do not feel you can adequately handle the changes to his care, hiring a homecare services provider with trained professionals is always a good option.

What will I need to do after my elderly parent's doctor appointment?

It is important to discuss any changes with your parent following an appointment. If he is large enough to take care of himself, make sure he has his list of medications handy. Investing in a daily or weekly pill organizer will also help the more independent elderly parent stay on track. Keep monitoring him, continuing to document changes. If your parent is in need of more frequent care, it is essential that you keep all records and lists in your possession.

Staying involved in the care of your parent will enable you to be more in control of his changing health. This will also make changes in his health less frightening for both of you. If you are unable to stay fully involved in his ongoing health, contact a homecare services company with certified caregivers to assist you. Visit or call 877.422.2270 to learn more about homecare services.


Source by Rhiannon E. Acree

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