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Appointments and Outings: Planning Ahead for Seniors

As your senior loved one ages, you may find that taking them out for appointments and outings can be a stressful ordeal for them, and for you, if you are not properly prepared.

Are Conditions Optimal?

In some instances, your best course of action may be to cancel an appointment or outing if the conditions before you are not optimal. Consider that while it may not be common practice for you to alter your plans for reasons such as ominous weather, poor road conditions or ill-health, seniors are a different story. They can be fragile and easily flustered and something as basic as a blustery day or the onset of a cold can be just enough reason to justify a change in plans.

All Systems a Go

If you do plan to venture out, consider the following:

  • Ensure your senior is dressed appropriately for the weather including proper footwear for the conditions
  • Bring supportive devices such as a cane or walker
  • Bring a snack in case you get stuck in traffic
  • Make provisions for bathroom stops
  • Make sure you allow ample time and that you know the way to your destination


Preparing for a Doctor’s Appointment

If your outing is for a doctor’s appointment for your senior, the following tips will help ensure you are properly prepared for the appointment:

  • Find out what is expected prior to your visit. Does the appointment have any preparatory restrictions? (e.g., fasting for a test, or bringing a bowel sample)
  • Know precisely where and when the appointment is. This is one of those times when it pays to double check the time and location. Being flexible is not always easy for seniors.
  • Document symptoms. Have a conversation with your loved one in advance and note any symptoms or issues you want to mention to the doctor. Then you don’t have the pressure of being put on the spot when the doctor asks.
  • Document personal information. If your senior has recently experienced a significant change or a particularly stressful event, this is important information to share with the doctor.
  • Bring medical history. Carry with you at all times, a list that documents previous ailments, conditions and surgeries. Ensure you have dates and any pertinent details.
  • Have a list of medications. This is another list you should carry with you at all times. Include frequency and dosage of the medications they are taking.
  • Make a list of questions. It’s often hard to remember your questions when you are in the doctor’s office. If you make a list ahead of time you will have time you will remember all that you and your loved one want to ask.
  • Bring a pen and notepad. It can be challenging to absorb all the information a doctor shares with you. Bring along a note pad so you can take notes. One book for all appointments, with dates included, will prove helpful for future references.

Don’t forget that when you are older, everything takes longer. Don’t plan outings according to your pace, plan according to your loved one’s pace. In other words… build in lots of extra time!