Accompanying your dad on his medical appointment…..

May 16, 2013

If you go with your parent to see the doctor, here are a few tips that will help you be an ally and an advocate:

  • Bring a list of questions, starting with what is most important to you and your parent, and take notes on what the doctor recommends. Both the questions and the notes you write down can be helpful later, either to give information to the primary caregiver or to remind your parent what the doctor said.
  • Before the appointment, ask your parent, the primary caregiver, and your siblings if they have any questions or concerns they would like you to bring up.
  • Bring a list of ALL medicines and dietary supplements your parent is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, and include the dosage and schedule. If your parent sees several different doctors, one may not necessarily know what another has prescribed.
  • When the doctor asks a question, let your parent answer unless you have been asked to do so.
  • It’s easy to get into a two-way conversation between the doctor and yourself—try not to do this.  Always include both your parent and the doctor when you talk.
  • Respect your parent’s privacy, and leave the room when necessary.
  • Talk to the doctor about how you can keep up-to-date on your parent’s health since you live out of town.
  • Ask the doctor to recommend helpful community resources.
  • Larger medical practices, hospitals, and nursing homes may have a social worker on staff. The social worker may have valuable suggestions about community resources and other information.

If you are worried that your parent might be depressed, you might want to discuss this with the doctor before the appointment. Depression is not a normal part of aging. Emotions like sadness, grief, and temporary “blue” moods are normal, but continuing depression that interferes with daily living is not okay. Yet, even some health professionals seem to think it is a normal response to the illnesses and other problems that can happen as we grow older.

Make sure the doctor is taking action in response to your concerns.

Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.



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