Doctor’s Visits Can Be Stressful for Both Senior Citizens and Their Caregiver
I believe the two most important components needed to make the most of a doctor’s visit are to be prepared and educated.
Here are some tips to help:
- Make the appointment when the senior is at their best. If it is for a loved one with dementia and they are prone to sundowning in the afternoon, that will not be an optimum time to schedule an office visit.
- Schedule the appointment during the office’s down time. The senior’s sense of time can be distorted and waiting in a croweded office may prove to be problematic. The senior may be nervous to begin with. Couple this with an extended wait in a full office and it may exacerbate their apprehension.
- Do not rush out of the house; take your time getting ready. Make the outing as stress free as possible.
- If time and circumstance allow, make it an enjoyable outing by stopping for coffee or a light meal after your appointment. End your experience on a positive note. It will help the next time you need to make a trip to the MD.
- Many times just walking from the parking lot to the MD office can prove difficult. Consider applying for a handicapped-parking permit. Keep in mind an individual with a mental impairment is also eligible for a handicapped-parking permit. For eligibility, instructions and applications visit your county / state website: Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, or New Jersey.
- Have a written list of questions and/or concerns to candidly discuss with the MD. Many times we leave the office forgetting to ask that one important question.
- If the MD prescribes a new medication, ask what are the benefits and/or possible side effects? What is the best time of day to take this medicine?
- Bring a list of medications that your senior is currently taking and discuss potential interactions with the MD. The pharmacist can also be a fountain of information regarding medication and possible interactions.
- Ask for a sample of the medication. Taking a sample can also make a busy day that much easier if you do not have to stop at a pharmacy on the way home. Both New York and New Jersey offer an assistance program to seniors for purchase of pharmaceuticals.
- If getting out of the house is too much for the patient perhaps a visiting nurse service is an option? Look into options available through Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester.
- Finally, attend a support group and network with people who have or who are traveling down the same road. It is helpful to know you are not alone on this journey. Sharing your experience, knowledge and feelings brings enlightenment and a sense of comfort to many.