Gail’s Advice on Helping the Elderly with Doctor’s Appointments

This is another article that Mom wrote for the eHow website about 7 years ago.

As your parents, friends and even neighbors grow older you might find yourself chauffeuring them for grocery shopping, hair cuts, club meetings, various errands and doctor’s appointments. This last one is the most important one to be sure to do it right.

Call the doctor

 If your older neighbor or a family member has trouble driving or lacks transportation, talk with them frequently by phone or drop by to see what their needs are. When they have a health issue, encourage them to schedule a doctor’s visit and offer them a ride. Make a note to remind yourself of the date and time of the appointment.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to pick up the one going to see the doctor. Someone who’s elderly walks much slower and might even use a cane, a walker or even a wheelchair that takes time to load into the car.


Gather all the medicine prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs that your friend or family member uses. Put them into a small bag to take with you. This lets the doctor know what the patient has been taking and avoids conflicting drug prescriptions. The doctor can check if the prescriptions need to be updated as well as making sure the patient is following instructions.

Take the pills

If it is snowy weather be sure your car is cleared and warm inside. If you have a seat-warmer, I’m sure your passenger will appreciate that too. They may need help with the steps and sidewalks if they’re slick. A fall can have disastrous consequences as bones grow brittle with aging.

Flyers with information

Flyers with information

On the trip to the doctor’s office quiz your passenger on what they need to tell the doctor or questions they need to ask. You can make a list of these as you wait in the waiting room. While there, check out pamphlets that might be of interest to you and your friend. Take time to chat and catch up on their news. Make this trip more like a friendly visit than a trip to the doctor to keep the anxiety level at a minimum.


Listen and take notes

Listen and take notes

Go into the doctor’s office with the patient to provide extra set of ears. Take notes of what the doctor says or even take a voice-activated recorder along to be sure everyone has the same information.

If a prescription is issued, take time to fill it as you head home. During the drive, talk about their plans so you can be sure they will follow the doctor’s directions. Find out if they need help carrying these out.

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