Doctor Visits With Our Senior Parents Are Beneficial to All

by Kaye Swain

When our kids are little, trips together to the doctor are quite commonplace. Heading to the doctor's office alone is one of those special growing up moments most will take in their late teens. Time passes, and then many of us experience another bittersweet moment. We are once again involved in accompanying a beloved, but much older family member to the doctor's office.

When my senior dad entered the advanced stage of Parkinsons Disease, he and my mom moved near me as he wanted to be sure there would be a good support system for both of them. I helped them get their insurance and doctor network all switched over from their old state, and they asked if I would go with them to meet his neurologist. We were all so glad I did. With my every-present shorthand notebook and pen in hand, I helped them find the office, took detailed notes of what the doctor said, and asked many more questions than my parents did.

The next day, we discussed what had happened at the doctor's office. We were all quite surprised at how little both my parents remembered from the visit - including important information about all of his medications. It was a major eye-opener for me, realizing that my role of caregiver would definitely require my attendance at all their doctor appointments.

Taking good notes isn't the only advantage of going to the doctor's with your aging parents. I learned that many, though not all, doctors will spend more time and explain things more thoroughly with an extra adult present who is obviously overseeing their care. Perhaps it is the sense of being held accountable? Or maybe I just tend to be politely persistent with my list of questions. Whatever the reason, it's definitely been a plus.

I've found it's also beneficial in helping them find their way through the various medical complexes and understanding all they need to do. Plus I watched their comfort level increase dramatically by having me along. Much like those young children we accompanied so many years ago, we can provide loving encouragement and nurture to our senior parents, making their life easier, and ours as well. I guess that old saying is true - "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

Kaye Swain is a member of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents and relatives in her family while also babysitting grandchildren. She enjoys writing on those topics at SandwichINK, in order to provide other multigenerational caregivers with useful information, resources and encouragement.

8 Responses

  1. This is a really sweet article. I'm a new parent myself and it's interesting to see the dichotomy between infant care and elder care in the later stages of life. Thanks for the insight and the encouragement to be more involved in parent's care! There's a lot of information available if we just ask! Andrew <a href="" title="long term care planning" rel="nofollow">Senior Helpers</a>
  2. Life is really a circle. The older people get, the more childlike they become in their neediness. I have found that with my mom. You do need to realize that you do know what is best. I had a real problem getting her a cellphone. She objected to the cost, even though I am paying. I got her a cheap Tracfone SVC which only costs $15 and then insisted that I would only call her on that phone. She now loves her phone. The same with supplements. Just be insistent in a patient manner.
  3. [...] speaking of doctor visits, be sure to check out my latest guest post at EldercareABCblog - Doctor Visits With Our Senior Parents Are Beneficial to All - including in situations like [...]
  4. Perhaps doctors also feel that a young carer is likely to be more interested in the treatment than the patient themselves? After all, the carer has made an extra effort to be there. It's only polite to reward that with as much information as you can give -- the patient will be back (probably) for their next appointment, while you don't know when the carer will be back. There's also the possibility that the carer being present reflects a deepening seriousness in emotional or social difficulties that the patient is happening, so more information might be required.
  5. If you are too much caring your children then you don't need to go in the elder care service. Because you are caring your children they will care you...
  6. This is very fine blog. I got meaningful information from this. Keep it up. <a href="" rel="nofollow">nursing agency</a>
  7. I thought it was really interesting that the doctor was so through with you being at the appointment. It's a good think that you were able to go and take notes but it makes me wonder how many things go missed or ignored if there isn't some sort of caregiver at the appointment taking notes. I find that having a list of things you want to know written down before the appointment is essential for people of all ages. Doctors are so rushed that things are easily missed. I hate it when you leave the appointment with things unanswered.
  8. great blog! i really enjoyed it through out all along the start to end. Yes you are right! It was a very strange and different feeling when i took my mom to the doctor's office to let the doctor see my mom's back pain condition. I still remember that she used to took me to the doctor for routine checkup but now...................! its all opposite. Thanks for sharing such a good blog with us. <a href="" rel="nofollow">Senior Care Washington</a>
  9. Nice Blog!!!! Everyone wants to keep their seniors always protected, happy and secure, but due to lack of time and busy schedule they are not able to do that. Elder care is like a care of a little child.