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Caregiver Responsibilities: How Involved Should You be in Your Parents’ Doctors’ Appointments?

Caregivers in Glendale, CA

Caregivers in Glendale, CARegardless of age and health, it is often a good idea to have someone go with you when you go to a doctor’s appointment. The emotional support can make the process less stressful, and having another person involved reduces the chances of misunderstandings and missed instructions. As a family caregiver for your elderly parents, it is your responsibility to protect and encourage your senior loved ones’ health by making sure they get the most out of their doctors’ appointments. While it is definite that you or an in home care provider should accompany your elderly parents to all doctors’ appointments, how involved should you truly be?

The desire to make sure your aging loved ones get the level of care they deserve can make you feel like you need to manage every aspect of the care. Taking over too aggressively, however, can have counterproductive consequences. Aging adults often feel as if they are losing their independence and control over their lives, which leads them to exert extreme control over the things that they feel they can. If your parents feel that you are involving yourself too much in their care or not letting them make decisions for themselves, they may refuse to allow you to enter the appointment, may not give you the opportunity to talk to the doctor, or may refuse to comply with anything you tell them after the appointment.

Carefully balancing your need to be an informed caregiver and ensure your parents get appropriate care and your responsibility to respect their dignity, privacy, and need for independence is essential for making sure your parents gain the most benefit from their appointments. Use these tips to help you maintain an appropriate level of involvement in your aging loved ones’ medical care:

Be upfront with scheduling. Make sure your parents know about their appointments ahead of time. Tell them when you scheduled appointments, what doctor they will see, and why you made the appointment. Not knowing why they are going to the doctor can be frightening, confusing, and frustrating for seniors.

Let them speak for themselves. Let your aging parents discuss their own symptoms as much as possible. Give them time to express what they are experiencing in their own way before you chime in with what you have noticed. Often, hearing from patients what they feel and how they describe it is an important insight for doctors. This can make a difference in the way they diagnose your parents or the treatment options they recommend.

Speak respectfully. When you do speak with the doctor, whether it is talking about symptoms that concern you, asking questions about treatments, or answering questions, use respectful language. Remember that this is your parent, not your child, and that he is sitting in the room with you. Speak about him as if he is part of the conversation even if he is not contributing to it. Be especially careful when contradicting things your parents have said, presenting your own observations as separate from what they said rather than as “the truth” in contrast to their statements.

Let the doctor talk. Many caregivers get so involved in their parents’ symptoms, conditions, and issues that they begin to feel as though they are qualified to make or refute diagnoses. Avoid the temptation to argue with the doctor or to tell them that you know what is wrong with your parent. Let the doctor talk to your parents, and to you, and accept what he has to say. Of course, if you feel that there is a serious problem, speak up and express your concerns so you can protect your seniors.

Let someone else handle it. If you feel you are too involved with your parents’ care, do not hesitate to take the pressure off of yourself by allowing their in home care provider to accompany your parents to their appointment. Give her a list of questions and issues of concern, entrust her with taking notes and relaying the information to you, and let the distance keep you informed but not micromanaging.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Glendale, CA, and the surrounding areas, please call the caring staff at Total Comfort Home Care. Our friendly staff will answer all of your elder care questions. Call Us Today (818) 877-4819. Proudly Serving The San Fernando Valley & Greater Los Angeles areas.