How to Help Your Senior Parent Feel Better About Seeing the Doctor

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

It’s common for older adults to skip out on doctor appointments, especially if they’ve had to change medical providers. As a family caregiver, you need to remain calm and develop strategies to make doctor visits easier on your elderly parent. Here are some tips for motivating your senior loved one to visit the doctor.

Allow Your Parent to Choose a Primary Care Physician

Sometimes seniors refuse to go to the doctor because they weren’t involved in the screening process when the doctor was chosen. Your loved one has a right to voice his or her opinion about the type of care he or she receives. If your loved one is uncomfortable with the doctor, it could be because the doctor lacks the personality and positivity your loved one wants in a primary care physician, which is why your loved one should have the right to choose his or her medical providers. Take your parent’s input seriously, even if you don’t always agree.

Remind Him or Her of the Benefits

Going to the doctor can help seniors get the testing and treatment they need to live a healthy and normal lifestyle. If your parent doesn’t want to go to the doctor, explain the benefits of the visit. For example, if your loved one will be having a vision test completed, explain how having the exam could allow him or her to continue driving. Once your parent knows the benefits, he or she may be less reluctant to go. Always be up front with your loved one, and never keep secrets. Your loved one has a right to know what is going on with his or her health. 

Be honest about your own needs, too, especially with yourself. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Rhode Island families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.

Attend Appointments Together

Having someone accompany them to the doctor can make seniors less reluctant to go to their appointments. You and your siblings should develop a schedule and take turns accompanying your loved one on doctor visits. Having you there for support could make the trip more bearable. Your loved one might feel secure having you there to ask questions or communicate with the physician. After the visit, take your parent to lunch, the movies, or on some other fun outing. Make the after-doctor outings a tradition to give your loved one something to look forward to. 

If you aren’t able to take your loved one to a doctor’s appointment, it might help to hire a professional caregiver to go along and provide support. Rhode Island home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Reschedule if Necessary

Older adults are entitled to have bad days and good days. During the bad times, they may not feel like going to the doctor. Your loved one’s health should always be a priority, but if he or she is not feeling up to it or just wants to spend the day alone, don’t force him or her to go to the doctor. Reach out to his or her primary care physician and see if rescheduling is an option. However, if the doctor recommends that your loved one comes in, check with the office staff and see if there’s a later time available. Rescheduling the appointment gives your loved one a little time to calm down or try activities that provide an immediate mood boost.

For seniors who want to stay healthy, it’s important that they don’t avoid seeing the doctor, both for regular checkups and when problems arise. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Rhode Island seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. Home Care Assistance is here to help. To talk to one of our Care Managers, call (401) 284-0979 today.