One of the many hats you may find yourself wearing as a family caregiver is accompanying your loved one to medical appointments. Seems simple enough, right? Yet there are a number of challenging dynamics and thoughts to consider to make attending a healthcare appointment with an older parent or another senior loved one smooth and successful for both of you.
For instance, it’s easy to slip into the reversed role of parenting your parent. Feelings of pride and a fear of lost independence can lead to a struggle if these waters aren’t navigated carefully and with empathy and compassion.
Dr. Ken Druck, aging and family psychology expert and author of “Raising an Aging Parent, Guidelines for Families in the Second Half of Life,” recommends having an open and honest discussion with your older parent before the first trip to the doctor together. He stresses the importance of “not waiting until a crisis to establish a line of communication. It’s like a line of credit. You’re building trust.”
The elder care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care recommend establishing boundaries together by asking questions such as:
- Do you want me to come with you into the exam room with you? Or would you prefer that I remain in the waiting room?
- Do you want me to ask questions or share my observations and thoughts? Or would you prefer that I remain silent and let you ask questions?
- Would you feel more comfortable if I wait in the car?
If possible, and cognitive decline or hearing loss isn’t impeding the senior’s ability, it’s usually best to let your parent take the lead – in particular, letting him or her answer the doctor’s questions without stepping in unless asked to do so. And, if the doctor speaks to and makes eye contact only with you and not your parent, it’s important to use either verbal or nonverbal cues to let the doctor know to redirect his/her attention to the senior.
Maintaining a tone of respect, with both the senior and the healthcare professional, while positioning yourself as an advocate for a senior loved one, demonstrates your intention to work collaboratively together as a team, and never to try to take charge.
After the healthcare visit and before leaving the office, ask your parent or other senior loved one to summarize what was discussed to ensure everyone is on the same page about the plan going forward.
American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care’s skilled referred care providers are also available to provide transportation and accompaniment for seniors to attend medical appointments and procedures, according to each senior’s particular requests and schedule. We can also help seniors get settled back in at home after their appointments, pick up prescriptions and groceries, prepare healthy meals and offer friendly companionship, among other services – for the best quality of life overall, both physically and emotionally.
Click on the location below that’s nearest to your aging parent to learn more:
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
Call us at your convenience to let us help improve life for a senior you love with our customized Florida in-home care services.
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661