How to Prepare for a Senior's Physician Appointment

How to Prepare for a Senior's Physician Appointment

  • September 24, 2015

Indiana family caregivers frequently ask the staff at our senior living communities for advice on how they can make their senior loved one’s physician appointments go more smoothly. While most understand the importance of a good physician relationship, they are frustrated at how little time they have to ask the doctor questions. We’ve put together this list of recommendations we believe will help.
 
Preparing for Your Senior Loved One’s Physician Appointment
 
Our three best tips all involve preparing ahead of time. It is the key to getting your questions answered and feeling confident about the care you are providing to your Indiana senior loved one.
 
  1. Keep A Daily Journal: Documenting how your senior loved one is doing each day and taking extra time to document their struggles can be a big help to their primary care physician. Use a calendar to write down any unusual symptoms, what activities they participated in that day, their diet, how much water they drank, how well they slept the night before and anything they struggled with. It may help you spot trends such as stomach pain after drinking milk or headaches when they haven’t had much water that day.
 
The day before your aging family member’s appointment, sit down and review your journal. List the items you are especially concerned about. Have everything organized to easily share with the physician.
 
  1. Prepare Your Questions: The rush-rush atmosphere at most physicians’ offices may make you feel a little too intimidated to ask questions. It will help if you create a written list ahead of time so you can quickly go through them with the physician. While they might be busy, most physicians also want you to be proactive so they can intervene early and prevent small problems from becoming big ones.
 
  1. Maintain a Medical File: Another important piece of coordinating a senior’s health care is to maintain a complete medical file. This is especially true if they see multiple physicians. Have extra copies of all of their medical tests and results, an up-to-date list of medications and dosages (including over the counter medicines), a list of allergies, and a contact sheet that has the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the health care professionals involved in their care.
Our final tip is to consider using an app or online resource to make maintaining and updating this information easier. My Medical and Track My Medical Records are two that might be helpful. Some allow you to have multiple logins. This makes it easier for siblings to share information from wherever they are.
 
We hope these tips help you make the most of each of your senior loved one’s physician appointments!

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