Headed to the doctor with your elderly parent or loved one? It’s always a good idea to prepare questions ahead of time.
Brilliant medical experts though they may be, doctors are not as familiar with patients as their caregivers are simply because they do not get to spend large quantities of time with them like you do.
Maybe you have been noticing subtle health changes in the past year — napping more, easily out of breath, confusion — but haven’t had time to ask a doctor. Maybe you haven’t known whether these changes are even something to be concerned about.
In the realm of lifestyle issues like diet and activity, here are a few good questions to ask when you take your parents to their next health and wellness exam:
What exercises or activities do you recommend? As people age, it’s important that they pay attention to their bodies. A few well-selected activities can improve balance, strength coordination and heart health. Your mom or dad’s doctor will have a good sense of their physical capabilities and can recommend activities to fit their lifestyles and medical goals.
What side-effects should I be concerned about? Any prescription carries with it the potential for side-effects that would need to be monitored. Some medications, for example, might increase your parent’s risk of falling. Other medications should not be taken with certain types of foods and drinks. Whenever the doctor prescribes a new medication or makes changes to an existing one, ask about what might happen as a result and what to do if you notice adverse side effects.
How much social and activity time is important? If your mom spends a lot of time at home alone, for example, the doctor might recommend that you find places for her to go during the day. Doctors and other health-care providers often recommend a day health program such as Northwest Adult Day Health for those who could benefit from socializing or any other additional support, such as medication monitoring and occupational therapy activities.
Could my loved one benefit from a day health program? Many of the referrals we get at Northwest Adult Day Health come from Whatcom County doctors who value what NWADH provides. If you think your parent could use a little extra help or companionship throughout the day, but, perhaps, they are refusing to participate in an adult day health program, ask the doctor’s advice during the appointment. Hearing the recommendation from a doctor they trust just might be what is needed to change their mind. We offer dementia care, nursing care, group activities and guided exercise, among other benefits.
Of course, you don’t need a doctor’s referral to join NWADH. If you’re interested in having your loved one experience the social and health benefits of NWADH, visit our referrals page for more information and to get started. It’s a simple process that can make a great difference in their quality of life.