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Doctor Visits

Getting to a doctor visit, as well as understanding the care prescribed, can be difficult for some seniors.  Aging involves changes to health and physical ability and comes with increased medical risks.  Older adults in the US average 17 days a year in a healthcare setting.  Due to the increased frequency of interaction with healthcare professionals, it is important to help seniors successfully navigate their visits. (forbes)

Start-to-Finish Checklist

Doctor visits can be stressful for anyone, especially seniors.  This checklist is meant to help easy that stress and anxiety.

  • Arrange for transportation early
  • Identify if a companion is needed for the visit (take notes, bring information, etc)
  • Check to see if the appointment, tests, or procedures require insurance pre-certification ahead of time.
  • Pack all items necessary:
    • Insurance cards
    • Photo ID
    • Payment for co-pays/ other charges
    • Contact information for other doctors
    • List of current medications
    • List of allergies/ medical conditions
    • Medical records, if needed
    • List of questions for doctor
    • Notepad or device for note-taking
  • Verify at checkout after the appointment:
    • Is further testing/ labs needed?
    • When will new prescriptions need pick-up?
    • Are there instructions or treatment notes to take home?
    • When are follow-up appointments scheduled?
    • Is any payment due today? (FitafterFifty)


Many seniors can feel overwhelmed and powerless in a medical setting.  Caregivers should always encourage seniors to be confident when attending appointments and speak up for themselves.  Remind seniors that they always have choices and control over their healthcare.  Some ways to do this are:

  1. Bring glasses/ hearing aids to communicate effectively
  2. Share what is going on and ask questions (a list ahead of time is helpful)
  3. As for directions/ diagnoses/ notes from the appointment in writing
  4. Get a second opinion if uncomfortable/ unsure of something a doctor says or is prescribing
  5. Take a family member or support person if self-advocacy is challenging (NIA)
  6. Help seniors who are online remember that medical information found online can be helpful as a reference.  For accurate understanding and diagnosis/ treatment, they should consult only professionals with the required education and training.  The Web does not have a medical degree!

Tips for less visits:

  • Follow doctor instructions including taking medications as prescribed
  • Look into alternatives to traditional doctor visits:
    • Web-based medical services
    • Virtual or over-the-phone appointments
    • Retail clinics (especially for flu shots or common, minor illnesses)
    • Urgent care centers (WebMD)

Clinical reasons for a doctor visit:

Seniors see doctors more often is due to cyclical treatments, check-ups, and preventative care.  Seniors should always plan on these visits and schedule them early:

  1. Annual physical exam
  2. Colonoscopy every decade
  3. Annual immunizations
  4. Regular eye exams
  5. Dental exams/ cleanings twice a year
  6. Regular screens for cancer, thyroid disorders, etc

Seniors should always follow their physician’s advice on if screens and exams need to happen at other intervals than listed above. (Healthline)

For help getting to and from appointments, taking notes, relaying information, picking up prescriptions, and more call Safe @ Home Senior Care.  We are proud to assist seniors with all their needs in and out of the home. (ClearCareMonthly)

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Services WE OFFER

  • Companionship
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Meal Preparation and Grocery Shopping
  • Accompany to Appointments & Errands
  • Assist with Transferring & Positioning
  • Mobility Assistance
  • Laundry & Bed Linens
  • Medication Reminders