It used to be great. They listened when something was wrong, and respected the opinions your senior loved one shared with them. They used to take time to talk about your concerns, and sometimes even share a laugh. But something’s changed. Lately, they seem hurried, no longer interested in the details. Or worse, they just aren’t available when your loved one needs them.

You know the signs. You’ve seen them before in other failing relationships, and now you’re noticing it all over again. But this time it’s in the life of a senior loved one, and in the place where you least expected it to happen – the doctor’s office.


Not Every Physician Relationship was Made to Last a Lifetime

What has always been a great doctor-patient relationship can change for the worse over time. Interactions might become rushed, perfunctory and impersonal. You are starting to wonder if it may be time to move on.

Talk to any relationship therapist and they’ll tell you there are classic signs to watch for. Signs that it’s time to call it quits. A relationship with a doctor is no different, though the red flags aren’t exactly the same.


So what signs might indicate it’s time for a new physician?

  • Long wait times
  • Bad communication
  • Poor listening skills
  • Disregard for the patient’s concerns or opinions
  • Limited or delayed access to care

Ending Certain Physician Relationships May be Lifesaving

People often fall into the trap of thinking that because they need their doctor, they aren’t free to leave. This simply isn’t true.

A doctor-patient relationship is a two way street. There needs to be mutual respect and a willingness to listen. When these needs aren’t met, it’s okay to end the relationship.

In an article written by Eugene Spiritus for, Spiritus explains that there’s no such thing as the “best doctor.” But there is such a thing as the wrong doctor for you. Spiritus, a pulmonary critical care specialist, says that while competence is important, it’s even more important that a doctor be a good listener.

It sounds a bit melodramatic, we know, but it’s true. In the same way that a relationship with an abusive partner can have tragic results, so can a bad relationship with your doctor. According to AARP, multiple sclerosis, lupus and Lyme disease are only a few of the medical conditions that are regularly misdiagnosed by doctors.

Clearly, a doctor who listens to their patient’s concerns can make all the difference. So if a senior loved one in your life is feeling ignored or dismissed by their doctor, it might be time to discuss moving on.

Here are a few factors to consider.

Mutual respect and collaboration are key.

A paper published by the American Journal of Managed Care shows that communication and decision-making are what secure the relationship between a doctor and their patient. In other words, how included a patient feels in decisions about their health, and how the doctor communicates with them are foundational to their relationship.

Making the right choice for your loved ones.

Helping an aging loved one to make the critical decision to part ways with their doctor and move on can be hard. Ending any lasting relationship is difficult. But when you think about what’s best for their overall health and wellbeing, a disinterested and unavailable doctor shouldn’t be anywhere in that picture.

An Environment to Support Older Adults

The support of an interested physician is one important aspect of thriving in retirement years. Another one is where a senior lives. And where you live matters greatly as you grow older.

From independent living to assisted living and memory care, Heritage Senior Communities, we have a housing solution for seniors across the state of Michigan. Call the community nearest you to schedule a private tour today!