As family caregivers, we know the medical checkups our senior loved ones have are important to their health and wellness.
Because our seniors’ abilities to sit and wait are not endless, nor is our time, we need to make the most out of the time we spend with the health care professional.
What do we need to get from our limited time in the doctor’s office?
Family caregivers need to get their questions answered and leave the office with all the pertinent information they need to be the best advocate for their senior’s health.
Caregivers are doing even more tasks for seniors in addition to the day to day chores they do to keep them safe and happy.
They need to get directions, instructions and resources to help them complete these diverse and skilled tasks.
Preparing for the Next Checkup
Here are a few tips to help family caregivers make the next visit to the doctor or any healthcare experience better by being prepared:
- Update your family health history to include any new health problems for your senior or any close relatives to be ready to share with your medical team.
- Create a list of any recent or new symptoms, issues or questions for your doctor, including any changes other doctors may have made since your last visit with this professional. Don’t assume your senior’s doctors are communicating, though you may find they are doing so.
- Bring a full list of the medications your senior is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Make a note of any other changes in eating or sleeping and symptoms of depression or anxiety.
- Give some thought to the future, ask what to expect, such as changes in health due to a chronic condition, so you can be prepared. Discuss advance directives if you haven’t yet.
- Be ready to face discussions such as quitting smoking, losing weight or health care decisions.
Play through a scenario in your mind, with the help of your senior, of questions that will ensure that you get all the answers you seek and your fears communicated for the benefit of both you and your senior’s well-being.
Don’t be afraid to take with you papers with lists of questions or reports you wish to discuss.
Be mindful of the time you need and be prepared to schedule another appointment without your senior to discuss more in-depth concerns.
Here are some additional articles family caregivers may find helpful when they are in control of the healthcare visits: