Make the Most of Your Loved One’s Next Doctor Appointment

When you take on the role of becoming the caregiver for your loved ones, you are assuming a large responsibility. Not only will you need to help them with little tasks around the home, you will also be responsible for taking them to the doctor for regular check-ups and to make sure they are filling and properly taking their medications.
Be prepared with a list of questions, concerns, medications.

 Here are some helpful tips and questions you need to ask when you and your loved one visit the doctor:

  • Make sure your loved one is going to the right doctor. Many elderly patients will attend the same doctor they have gone to for the past 20 years. Typically this person is a family practice doctor and they do provide great advice, but your loved ones have moved up to a different stage in life and they need a little extra care. Contact a physicians referral service to find doctors that specialize in senior care. Doctors that specialize in senior care are generally known as internal medicine doctors or gerontologists, and they have received additional training in joint care along with mental disorders. In other words, they specialize in the problems that seniors face.

  • Keep an organizer with you that lists your loved one's medications along with the different doctors they see. They will likely have at least 2 different doctors, especially if they have had heart problems, hearing loss, or vision failure. Always talk to the doctor about the dosage of the medications, and make sure they are taking the medications appropriately. Some medications must be taken independently of other medications or at a certain time each day.
Once you have scheduled a doctor appointment, ask these questions to the receptionist and doctor:
  • When are the bills processed and how are they handled? 
  • Do they send estimated statements out before the bills?
    • (This can be extremely confusing to many elderly patients). You may want to arrange to have the bills sent to your house to save your loved ones any confusion and stress about paying their bills. Elderly patients that are starting the early stages of dementia can become quite irritable about bills, so it is best to spare them this extra stress. 
  • Who will answer emergency questions after-hours or when the doctor is unavailable?
  • Is there a particular hospital we must go to for treatment?
  • What symptoms should I look out for? 
    • Find out what the symptoms are for certain medical conditions that your loved one may have. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes need to be monitored often, so you need to make sure you have the right tools at home. Here is a list of various medical supplies that will allow you to check their blood pressure and you can also purchase supplies for diabetes. When you are discussing symptoms, find out how long they need to be present before you need to call the doctor or take your loved one to the emergency room.
  • What can I do to improve their current health condition? 
    • Discuss their current health condition and things that you can do to improve it. While there is not a cure for dementia, the doctor may have some coping tips you can use that will help you deal with it easier and communicate better with your loved one. You also need to discuss how much exercise they need, and what types of exercises are safe for their condition.

Elderly individuals often struggle with proper eating habits. Talk about taking supplements and trying juice drinks and shakes. These drinks are easy to mix and provide protein, calcium, and other nutrients that will help to keep your loved one strong. Ensure and other drinks are often recommended to geriatric patients to help maintain a healthy weight level.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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