Preparing Seniors for Doctor Visits

Getting to a doctor visit, as well as understanding and implementing medical advice, can be a

challenge for seniors.

Aging involves changes in health, physical ability, and medical risks. On average, older adults in the US tend to be in a healthcare setting about 17 days a year. Given how common (and often necessary) it is for seniors to interact with doctors, it is important to help seniors navigate doctor visits well. (Forbes)

A Start-to-Finish Doctor Visit Checklist

For many seniors, doctor visits are stressful. Use this checklist to help ease anxiety.

-Arrange transportation to and from appointments

-Identify whether or not a companion is necessary for the visit

-Check if the appointment or associated tests require seniors to contact their insurance company ahead of time for pre-certification or other purposes

-Pack everything needed for a successful appointment:

  • Insurance cards
  • Photo ID
  • Payment for co-pays or other charges
  • Contact information for other doctors
  • List of current medications
  • List of allergies/medical conditions
  • Medical records, if needed
  • A list of questions for the doctor
  • A notepad or device for note-taking

-Verify at checkout after the appointment:

  • If further testing or labs are required
  • When new prescriptions should be picked up
  • If there are instructions or treatment notes seniors can take home with them
  • When follow-up appointments are scheduled
  • If any payment is due

(Fit after Fifty)

Tips to See the Doctor

Less Often

Following doctor instructions and

taking care of oneself are great ways

for seniors to reduce the number of

appointments they attend. There are

also alternatives to traditional doctor

visits that seniors can benefit from, such as:

  • Web-based medical services
  • Virtual or over-the-phone


  • Retail clinics, especially for

flu shots or common, minor illnesses

  • Urgent care centers


Cyclical Reasons Seniors

Should See the Doctor

One of the reasons aging adults

tend to see doctors often is for

cyclical treatments, check-ups,

or preventative care. For instance,

seniors should plan on:

  • Annual check-ups
  • A colonoscopy every decade
  • Annual vaccinations
  • Regular eye exams
  • Dental exams twice a year
  • Screenings for cancer, thyroid

disorders, etc.


How to Help Seniors Advocate for Themselves

Often, seniors feel nervous or powerless when in healthcare settings.

Encourage seniors to attend their appointments confidently and to speak

up for themselves. Remind seniors to:

  • Bring glasses or hearing aids if necessary to support effective communication
  • Prepare to share what has been going on in their lives and to ask questions
  • Ask for directions, diagnoses, and notes about the appointment in writing
  • Get a second opinion if they are uncomfortable or unsure of something a doctor says
  • Take a family member or close friend for support if self-advocacy is challenging for them


Home Care Tip

Help seniors who are active online to understand that the Web does

not have a medical degree. While medical information can be helpful to

reference and understand more about health, only professionals with

education and training should make diagnoses and prescribe treatments.

Whether you are looking for a reliable nurse for different medical services, or a professional aide for personal care services, Gulfshore Private Home care is here to help.  Because every client’s needs and lifestyle are different, our in-home care team will provide services specifically based on your loved one’s condition and circumstances.

We are located in the areas of Naples, North Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, and Marco Island.  Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 239-249-8318

With our home health care in Collier and Lee Counties you will be able to live a happy, safe, and independent life. We invite you read more about our services and about us.  Every situation is unique, so to have all of your specific questions answered with personalized information from a friendly local home care expert, call 239-249-8318 now!