Most older adults benefit from having a family member accompany them to doctor appointments. Family members can keep track of information or recommended follow-up steps, as well as advocate for the senior during the visit. Family members can share specific concerns in regards to memory or pain management with the doctor, as well as give realistic accounts of symptoms the senior could be experiencing.
If you are heading to your loved one’s doctor appointment, it is important to go in prepared. Jot down a list of questions prior to arrival so that you don’t forget them during the appointment. Here are a few questions you may want to ask, depending on your loved one’s situation or challenges:
1. What is the risk of falling?
Falls are serious dangers for older adults and can be especially hazardous if the older adult is living at home alone. Talk candidly about any falling concerns with your loved one’s doctor, inquiring about any risk factors that could cause increased concern. Factors that can increase the risk of falling include heart conditions, memory or judgment concerns, decreased strength, or poor balance. Ask what you can do to decrease these risks at home.
2. Is a physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy referral appropriate?
Outpatient therapy services are often quite beneficial for seniors of all abilities. Regular visits with therapists can increase balance and flexibility, as well as assist with memory or eating concerns. The doctor can often write a prescription for an evaluation to see if this could be a good option for your loved one’s situation.
3. Does this new medication interact with any other current medications?
Seniors, in general, take many medications. Unfortunately, with the variety of physicians and specialists prescribing them, some medications could be negatively interacting with one another without anyone realizing it. Use your loved one’s regular checkups as a time to do a comprehensive medication review with their doctor, eliminating any medications that are no longer necessary.
4. What local resources should I know about?
Navigating the senior care industry is difficult, and you can benefit from having recommendations from your loved one’s physician. Learn about Meals on Wheels services, as well as transportation options for the area and support groups. Your loved one’s physician is a treasure trove of knowledge you could benefit from.
5. Here are my concerns.
While not a question, it is wise to come to your loved one’s doctor appointment with any concerns you may have. Talk about any lapses in memory you have noticed or whether your loved one is in noticeable pain throughout the day. Your doctor can gain a better perspective of your loved one when they hear what you observe.
6. What screenings should we set up this year?
Preventive care is important for all of us, but especially as we age. Determine what preventive screenings are recommended for your loved one and get those scheduled for the year. These could include osteoporosis screenings, mammograms, or other important appointments.
7. Where can I get more support?
Regular physician checkups are not the only place you can receive information and support. Check out your local Arbor Company senior living community for resources, lectures, support groups, respite care options, and more. You might be surprised at how our senior living communities serve the greater senior community, as well as our residents.