BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP OF TRUST WITH YOUR PARENT’S DOCTOR
As a family caregiver for your aging parents, a main element of your senior care plan is going to be helping to oversee their medical needs. This means not only providing transportation to and from their appointments with various doctors, but also being an active and supportive part of making sure that they understand their medical needs, treatments, and lifestyle guidelines. In order to do this successfully, you must form a relationship with your aging parents' doctors. Building a senior care plan is an important part of creating a care routine that is effective and personalized for your elderly parents' needs. Including their doctors in this care team enables you to rely on them and feel more confident in your ability to help your aging loved ones meet their medical needs throughout their later years. Just like with your own doctors, however, you cannot expect to immediately have a trusting and comfortable relationship with your parents' doctor. Building this type of relationship takes time and effort, but is important to ensuring the most benefit from your interactions with them. Use these tips to help you build a relationship of trust with your aging parents' doctors: • Introduce yourself. The beginning of any relationship is introducing yourself. Instead of just immediately jumping into asking questions, or sitting silently taking notes, take a moment to introduce yourself to the doctor and explain your role in your parents' care. Not only does this start building the relationship on your end, it also puts the doctor at ease and makes him more willing to talk to you. • Express your concerns. Do not hesitate to express your concerns and your emotions regarding the struggles your parents face. This is not the time to get overly emotional or to confide in the doctor, but expressing what worries you and giving emotional context to these worries can actually help the doctor understand new and worsening symptoms and devise a personalized course of treatment. • Be friendly. It may seem obvious, but if you want to build trust with your parents' doctors, you need to be friendly. Visiting the doctor can be extremely stressful, but make sure you take the time to greet the doctor, maintain a pleasant tone when you talk with him, and then give a friendly parting. Being friendly relaxes both of you so that you are more willing to exchange information and open up with each other. • Ask. It might feel like your parents are the only people in the world coping with their particular issues, but the reality is their doctors probably see people with the same issues several times a week. This means they are accustomed to giving the same information, answering the same questions, and offering the same guidance. If you want to feel more confident in the doctor and trust his care more, ask questions. Give the doctor the opportunity to think outside the box and give your parents a more personalized approach.