As amazing as it might sounds, some elderly loved ones aren’t completely honest with their doctors. Some are afraid of losing their independence or having to admit that they need more help than they want. As your loved one’s family caregiver, you may have to step in yourself.
Talk to Your Loved One Before Her Appointment
Bring up the issue with your elderly loved one before her next appointment. Let her know that you’ve noticed her downplaying her issues and you’d like to know why. Emphasize to her that you’re concerned that she gets the care that she needs and that requires being honest with her doctor.
Talk to Your Loved One’s Doctor Before Her Appointment
If you can, try to talk to your loved one’s doctor before the next appointment, too. Let him know that you’re concerned that some issues have been underreported. Give him an idea what your loved one needs to have addressed and ask if he can bring it up during the appointment.
Bring a List of Symptoms and Other Important Information to the Appointment
Make sure that when you go to the appointment, you bring as much information as you can with you. This might include notes about what you’ve noticed, food and sleep diaries, and any other symptoms or data that you have collected.
Prompt Your Loved One Gently
If your loved one is still not mentioning what you’ve talked about having her bring up, try gently prompting her during the appointment. The purpose here isn’t to embarrass your loved one, but instead to help her to broach the important topics that she needs to have addressed.
Step in if You Need To
At some point, you may find that you need to step in yourself. This should be a last resort, especially if your loved one might feel that you’re overstepping your bounds as her family caregiver. As her caregiver, however, it’s your duty to make sure that she’s taken care of as well as possible and that includes both her safety and her health.
Remind your loved one that the more honest she is with her doctor, the more help he can be to her.