2. Bring all medications your loved one is taking to the doctor. Doctors ask what medications the patient is taking. By bringing in the bottles, you won’t have to wonder if you remembered everything, and the doctor can see the dose and frequency of each drug.
3. Bring some health history information. Write down diseases, surgeries, family history of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. You may want to review a list of tests and immunizations suggested for the age of your loved one.
At The Doctor’s Office
Your loved one may not want you to join him or her in the examination room. Do not insist on this. The person’s need for privacy should be respected. But do try to ensure that you and your loved one get all of your questions answered before the appointment ends.
If the doctor seems to be rushing through the appointment, be polite but firm in asking for more time for your loved one. Do not leave the doctor’s office until ALL of your questions are answered! A staff nurse or physician assistant may also be helpful in answering questions.
If you are in the examining room, take notes for your loved one. If not, urge him or her to write down the doctor’s answers to your questions and any special instructions on lifestyle and diet changes.
If the doctor orders follow-up tests — for example, blood tests for cholesterol, diabetes or other conditions — make sure you get clear instructions on how and where to do the tests and whether there are any out-of-pocket expenses. This will help make those tests go more smoothly for your loved one.
After The Appointment
Based on the doctor’s recommendations, new medications, daily exercises or changes in diet may be necessary for your loved one. These changes may seem small to you, but they can feel burdensome to many people. Be sensitive to your loved one and commit as much time as you can to help him or her meet health goals.
Let’s be real: Lifestyle changes can be hard. For example, it’s often not easy for people to start exercising. So start with the easy things. For example, most people can start walking more. Walking is easy, convenient and inexpensive. Nearly everyone can do it at any skill level, from grandparents to children. Plus, it has the lowest dropout rate and injury rate of all exercise programs. Also, studies show that people who have exercise partners — even if for a simple 10-minute walk a few days a week — stick with their exercise plans better than people who try to go it alone. So help your loved one find a neighbor or friend to walk with.
Everyone who commits to lifestyle changes slips up — whether it’s overeating, sneaking a cigarette, or skipping a day or two of exercise. That’s OK! We’re all human. The key is to get your loved one to focus on the long-term goal — a healthier lifestyle.
One easy way you can continue to help is by having frequent phone calls with your loved one — just a few minutes — to check in and ask how everything’s going. The most important step here is getting a loved one to a doctor. You can do it! Your loved one, and all of his or her other loved ones, will thank you!