Dear Donna:

Like many men his age, my dad isn’t so great about going to the doctor. It’s been especially difficult since my mother passed away. She could usually gain his cooperation more easily than I can.

My dad is 79 years old. Although he is in fairly good health, I know an annual physical is important. Do you have any ideas for making a senior’s physician appointments go more smoothly?

Any advice would be appreciated!

Meghan in Hudsonville, MI


Suggestions for Making Physician Visits Easier for a Senior


Dear Meghan:

First, know this is a question we regularly hear from our residents’ adult daughters. While I’m sure it’s frustrating for you, men are less likely to visit a physician than women. We do have a few tips that might improve your father’s cooperation.

In general, the key to a successful physician visit is getting organized and communicating well. Making preparations before your father’s physician appointment is essential. It can make the visit go more smoothly, which may make your dad more willing to schedule another visit.


Here are a couple of suggestions for pre-appointment preparations:


  • Keep a health journal: Documenting your dad’s daily health can help his primary care physician intervene in any potential problems early. Even if he seems healthy, write any unusual symptoms down on a calendar to spot trends. Some physicians also recommend documenting a senior’s diet, water intake, and sleep quality. A day or two before your dad’s appointment, review your notes and list your concerns. Having everything organized will make the appointment easier for your dad and the doctor.
  • Prioritize your questions: Feeling rushed at a physician visit might make you too intimidated to ask questions. However, it is important that you have answers. Prioritize your list ahead of time so you can quickly review it with the doctor. While they might be busy, physicians want to be proactive in preventing patient illnesses.
  • Organize medical information: Another important piece of coordinating a senior’s health care is to maintain a complete medical file. Organize your dad’s information so it is easy to retrieve what you need and stay on track with any necessary follow-up. Keep a list of his tests or bloodwork and the results. Maintain a medication list, including prescribing physicians.


One final tip is to explore medical record apps that make maintaining and updating your dad’s information easier. Some allow multiple logins, which can make it easier if you have siblings involved in his care. Apple’s Health Records or Healthspek are two to consider.


I hope this information makes maintaining a relationship with your dad’s physician easier for all of you! Call the community nearest you to learn more today!


Kind regards,