As parents enter their golden years, they may require outside assistance to ensure they’re receiving the optimal care from their geriatric doctor. As many adult children step into caretaking roles, they may feel both a privilege and responsibility to actively participate in supporting their parents through their healthcare journey. This article offers ten thoughtful ways that caretakers of an aging parent can actively ensure that your parents receive the best possible care from their geriatrician.

  • Open lines of communication

Make sure you have the necessary permissions to discuss your parents’ health with their doctors to establish a strong communication link. Consistent, open communication is vital and works as a two-way street, so be sure to keep the doctors informed about any changes in your parents’ health or behavior. Also, be sure that you know the best way to reach the doctor outside of regular appointments for urgent matters.

  • Attend medical appointments

Whenever possible, accompany your parent(s) to their medical appointments. Your presence can provide emotional support and help ensure that all health concerns are addressed. Not only can you help them understand the doctor’s instructions and recommendations, but you can also provide insights into their daily routines or changes that they may not remember to mention.

  • Prepare for Doctor’s visits

Prior to each appointment, prepare a list of questions or concerns. This ensures you cover all the important topics during the visit and help your parent(s) get the most out of their time with the doctor. Be sure to write down any changes in symptoms, mood, or general well-being since the last visit to discuss with the doctor.

  • Understand their medications

Take the time to understand the medications your parents are taking. Try to understand what each medication is for, its side effects, and any potential interactions. This knowledge can help prevent medication-related problems and improve adherence to treatment plans. Keep an updated list of all their medications, including any over-the-counter drugs or supplements they take. Note: if your parent relies on multiple medications, then you may want to seek the help of a geriatric doctor.

  • Advocate for your parent

You are your parents’ best advocate. Do not hesitate to ask questions, seek clarification, or request further information if something doesn’t seem right. If you feel your parent isn’t receiving the best care, consider seeking a second opinion. Remember, you have the right to voice concerns and ensure they receive the best possible care.

  • Stay informed about the condition of their health

Understanding your parent’s medical conditions will help you make informed decisions about their care and allow you to communicate effectively with their healthcare team. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize symptoms, manage their care, and anticipate potential complications.

  • Ensure a comfortable care environment

Check that your parents are comfortable during doctor’s visits. If they have hearing or vision issues, make sure they have their glasses or hearing aids. If they struggle with mobility, help them get the support that they need. Consider factors like room temperature, seating comfort, and accessibility to make the experience less stressful for them.

  • Encourage healthy lifestyle choices

Encourage your parents to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate rest, and social interaction can significantly improve their overall health and well-being. Senior care doctors aim to promote these healthy habits since they play such a crucial role in managing chronic conditions and improving quality of life. By fostering a culture of wellness, geriatricians aim to empower seniors to lead active, fulfilling lives. 

  • Help with follow-up care 

Ensure your parents follow through with the doctor’s recommendations. This could include scheduling follow-up appointments, arranging tests, or adhering to medication regimens. As we mentioned previously, keep track of their progress and any changes in their health status, as regular communication with the healthcare team allows for continuous, personalized care. 

  • Provide emotional support

Lastly, try to keep in mind that dealing with health issues can be stressful and scary. While your presence alone can be a great comfort during challenging times, offering reassurance and listening when they need to talk can be more therapeutic than any medicine. Encourage them to express their fears and anxieties, validate their feelings, and remind them of their strength and resilience. Offer positive affirmations and remind them that they are not alone in this journey. Your emotional support can significantly impact their mental well-being and overall health outcomes.

Helping your parents get the best care from their geriatric doctor involves active involvement, communication, and advocacy. By keeping these tips in mind, you can contribute to the quality of care your parents receive. Remember, it’s a team effort between you, your parent(s), and their healthcare team to ensure they enjoy the best possible health outcomes.

If you’re looking for a family medicine clinic that understands the importance of this kind of collaboration and patient-focused care, consider Meadowcrest Family Physicians. With a team of experienced providers, Meadowcrest provides comprehensive healthcare in a compassionate and respectful environment. Whether it’s routine check-ups or managing chronic conditions, Meadowcrest is dedicated to supporting families every step of the way on their healthcare journey.