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7 Issues Your Older Parent Should Address with His or Her Physician

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There are nearly 90,000 physicians in Canada, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. While doctors make their best efforts to assess peoples’ overall health and wellbeing, they often have limited time with each individual, so it’s difficult for them to address concerns that aren’t brought to their attention. It’s important to remind your senior parent to bring up the things discussed below when visiting the doctor.

1. Unusual Symptoms

It’s common for seniors to assume minor aches and pains are simply related to age and not worth bringing up. However, no degree of recurring or persistent discomfort should be considered normal. Encourage your parent to mention even minor instances of discomfort so the doctor can determine if additional steps should be taken.

2. Issues with Balance or Coordination

Stats cited by the Government of Canada’s website show 20–30 percent of seniors fall each year. The risk of falling is greater if they’re having issues with balance or coordination. Because there are many health problems that can be responsible for a lack of stability, it’s a good idea to alert the doctor about issues of this nature.

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3. Sleep Problems

Not getting enough sleep can contribute to memory issues, reduced daytime alertness, high blood pressure, and an assortment of underlying health concerns. Encourage your parent to discuss his or her sleep habits with the doctor so anything out of the ordinary can be addressed.

4. Memory Concerns

Some older adults are hesitant to admit they have concerns about memory lapses or cognitive difficulties. Remind your parent that simply having memory issues doesn’t mean he or she has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. In fact, there are many treatable sources of memory-related problems, but your loved one has to let the doctor know what’s worrying him or her first. Also, encourage your parent to discuss mental health issues that could affect memory and concentration, such as anxiety and depression.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Vancouver seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

5. Diet-Related Issues

Seniors sometimes find it difficult to get all the nutrients they need from the foods they eat, so identifying nutritional deficiencies can determine if supplements may be appropriate. Other dietary concerns that can be addressed during a doctor visit include ones involving:

• Difficulty losing weight or sticking to a diet
• Digestive concerns related to certain foods
• Unexplained weight loss or gain

6. Reactions to Medications

If your parent is taking medication on a regular basis, encourage him or her to let the doctor know how he or she is responding to any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. This allows the doctor to determine if adjustments need to be made. Also, any side effects or unexpected reactions should be discussed.

7. Preventive Care Options

Lastly, remind your parent to find out what preventive care steps he or she can take to maintain robust health and reduce the risk of developing serious conditions. Depending on your loved one’s specific circumstances, the doctor may recommend:

  • Annual or biannual mammograms (for senior women)
  • Cancer screenings if your parent has a family history of certain types of cancer
  • Routine blood pressure and blood sugar checks
  • Prostate exams (for senior men) 
  • Routine hearing and eye exams 

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of senior care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (778) 279-3634 to learn more about our customized care plans.