Senior parent and adult daughter speak with a doctor in his office.

Taking Your Aging Parent to the Doctor

Last updated on April 11, 2024

As your senior parent grows older, their doctor appointments can become increasingly complex with various concerns to address. Unfortunately, they may have a 20-minute window or less to discuss these important matters with their physician. Adding to your frustration, it can often entail weeks for a follow-up visit.

The best thing to do before an appointment with your parent’s doctor is to make a list of topics to discuss. You don’t want to suddenly remember a crucial question after leaving the parking lot.

5 Tips for Talking With Your Aging Parent’s Doctor

With decades of expertise in aiding seniors and their families, Visiting Angels has heard common sentiments from clients wishing for more proactive communication with physicians. Many have expressed disappointment over unaddressed concerns or missed opportunities to ask vital questions during medical visits.

To help you avoid this situation, here are some topics to discuss at your loved one’s next medical appointment.

1. Symptoms
You may be the voice for your parent if they have trouble remembering or expressing health symptoms. Convey to the physician any physical discomfort, cognitive changes, or emotional shifts they've experienced. Provide relevant details such as when the health issues began, how they've progressed, and any factors that worsen or alleviate symptoms. Clear communication will help the doctor accurately assess and develop a personalized care plan.

2. Mental Health
Mental health conditions are common in older adults, affecting about 14% of seniors, according to the World Health Organization. Talk with your parent and their doctor about signs and risks for:

Visiting Angels' companion care can help if your loved one feels lonely or isolated. Our caregivers can spend time with them at home doing hobbies they enjoy, like puzzles, reading, or chatting.

3. Mobility and Fall Prevention
As your parent ages, it can be challenging to strike a balance between safety and independence. The CDC reports that 1 in 4 seniors fall each year in the U.S., and more than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.

Ask the doctor about mobility exercises to help your loved one maintain independence and range of motion. These could include:

  • Strength training
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Mindful yoga
  • Balance exercises
  • Physical therapy

Visiting Angels provides a fall prevention for seniors program to help lower the risk of slips, trips, and falls at home.

4. Independent Self-Care
Ask the physician if your parent can perform activities of daily living on their own safely. Basic self-care tasks include:

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Dressing
  • Eating, chewing, and swallowing food
  • Moving independently
  • Toileting
  • Transferring from one position to another

The doctor might recommend modifications, such as installing grab-bars in the shower or using ambulatory aids like a walker, as well as seeking professional assistance from a home care provider, like Visiting Angels.

5. Care Options
If your family is considering home care support, ask the doctor to recommend the best level of assistance, such as:

You will likely get a lot of information at the appointment. Take detailed notes of instructions and symptoms to monitor and stay on track with your parent’s home care plan.

Visiting Angels Is Here to Help

Contact your local home care office to learn how Visiting Angels can support your aging parent and loved ones. Schedule a free home care consultation today.

If you're interested in our compassionate home care services for you or a loved one, contact your nearest Visiting Angels home care agency today or call 800-365-4189.
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