Going to the doctor is often a more frequent part of life as we age. When a senior’s adult children try to step in and help, it can be perceived as interference by the senior. Their efforts to “help” may be perceived by the senior as a play to take away their independence. It can be downright offensive to an older person, implying they don’t have the good sense to talk to their doctor about their own health.
This is why it’s important for caretakers to know how to talk to a senior’s doctor, as well as to the senior themselves. The bottom line is to make sure a senior knows they remain the captain of their team, not a benchwarmer.
Adult children can talk to their senior parent before they get involved, making it clear they want to ensure the best care is being provided and to communicate that they understand and acknowledge the senior’s position. The approach should be that everyone is in it together, for the betterment of their beloved senior.
Actually being present in the doctor’s office can increase the frustration of senior when a doctor insists on talking to the younger counterparts instead of the senior themselves. It can make an older person feel like they’re a child, resulting in obstinance and anger. If a doctor refuses to speak directly to their senior patient, despite requests to do so, it’s time to find a new doctor.
Another factor that may play a role in the senior wanting to visit a doctor alone is embarrassment. It doesn’t matter if the diagnosis means a senior’s life is in danger, or simple in need of adjustments, health issues are intimate and a place for privacy. It’s a common sentiment, regardless of the age of the patient. That’s why there are waiting rooms. By simply stating to a senior that they’re loved, and they can count on a person’s support, that can ease the tension and allow a senior to retain command of their own health issues. If cognition is a concern, the adult accompanying the senior can enter the room after the examination.
While a senior may not want their children to be involved, for a variety of reasons, it’s still important for someone to know what’s going on, other than the senior themselves. In some cases, a senior may not report all of their medications, or fail to reveal important health details.
Those accompanying the senior can inform the rest of the family as to what’s going on with their aged loved one. A senior can absolutely take the lead at the medical appointment. However, understanding the temperament of a senior, and the way they enjoy leading their lives, can make it easier to figure out how to be involved, and how deep that involvement should go.