Top Tips for Attending a Healthcare Appointment with an Older Parent

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 Charter Home Health 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.

Why Choose Charter Home Health? 

Our mission is to enhance the lives of individuals by giving them the best home care possible.

Our home care professionals in Philadelphia look beyond the basic needs of our clients to become advocates for their physical and emotional well-being. Whether you are faced with a new diagnosis, recent surgery, or long-term health challenge, the care we provide is rooted in our core values.

Our senior care services allow our elderly clients to maintain as much independence as possible by providing the appropriate in-home assistance and companionship, lifting the spirits of both the elderly and the family caregivers.

Charter Home Health provides Home Care Services in the Philadelphia and surrounding cities.

Call us at 215-935-6321