The older we get, the higher the urgency to keep in touch with a doctor.
Though an older person may seem strong and fit on the inside, years of work, stress, being exposed to the elements and age can tear their defenses down. They might even experience some physical symptoms already but just don’t have something to put their foot down on.
Do they really want to though?
Elderly individuals can be more sensitive than those who are in their late 20’s through the ’30s. That said, the tension of dealing with a doctor’s appointment would be extremely burdensome on their end.
The fear of being told of their current health standing and being restricted and stripped of their freedom to some extent could be excruciatingly burdensome on their part. Thinking about this can be stressful enough. Not to mention the hassle one has to deal with in appointment setting and going through the whole process of filling up your form, waiting for your doctor, answering personal and genetic medical concerns, and staying on stand by while waiting for yours.
Even after the first appointment, things don’t really get any easier from there. For this reason, if you are accompanying an elderly relative or are an acting caregiver for an older individual, you have to do your best to make it as comfortable and enjoyable for them as possible.
How do you go round to doing that?
Well, here are some easy things for you to follow.
Be a Partner, not a Caretaker
People who have years and wisdom to their years earning them our respect. No matter how down or out they are of themselves they know and believe that too. So, don’t treat them like they don’t understand anything. It may take some time for a handful of elderly individuals but they want to know what they are getting into and the more you deprive them of that right, the more they become dubious of you.
Getting older individuals actively involved in their diagnosis, medications let them know that they are part of the process and that their thoughts and feelings are valued.
Fill out Forms for the First Appointment
During the initial visit new patients are required to sit down and fill out papers and papers of information. For younger individuals this can be taxing enough, for the elderly, well, that could be a whole new challenge on its own.
It’s especially difficult for those who find it hard to go through the fine print. With all the things that they have to recall and mull over, it just adds to their confusion and frustration.
To avoid overworking your loved ones with this step of the doctor’s appointment, request for the forms to be mailed to you in advance that way he/she will have more time to work through the details at a comfortable pace and space.
Write Down Symptoms in Advance
It can be hard piecing together all that you need to say, right? Think about how much harder it would be for someone who has difficulty remembering. Of course, not all elderly find it that hard, but nobody really wants to miss a thing.
Putting all the symptoms down in advance would be a great help on their part. Doctors have tons of patients to see in a day. For this reason, they don’t have much time to work with each patient. Explaining everything that they are feeling while trying to recall all the details puts unwanted pressure on their part.
Studies have come to the conclusion that we can only remember 80% of what we see and do, 30% of what we read, and only 10% of what we hear. Aging can cause these numbers to dwindle even further. For this reason, it would not be advisable to bring everything to the table for the elderly. While doctors do their best to keep things at a pace their patients can manage, it is an undeniable possibility that everything will go past them.
Writing down the info given such as the diagnosis, treatment plan, and steps after which could help you and the elderly individual you are accompanying follow through on the doctor’s orders. This will thereby increase the chances of better health results.
While you are at it, don’t be afraid to clarify certain areas. Seniors have a tendency to be shy, embarrassed or sensitive when it comes to things that they do not know. Asking in their stead makes sure you both get everything sorted out also, you can brush up on emergency scenarios as well as list down all possible alternatives on medication and whatnot.
The “Buddy System”
As we’ve already tackled, people get more sensitive through time. Truth be told, it’s hard to find someone who likes being told what to do by someone years younger. It gets even worse with age. Having another person on board such as a spouse, family member, friend or even professional Patient Advocate gives them a support system to turn to. This lets them know that they are not alone with what they are going through.