Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Care Partner Wednesday--Do You Have The Right Doctor?

Older people's bodies aren't the same as younger people's.

Duh. Am I a master of stating the obvious? But there's more to it than you might realize. And the implications for you and your elder might be something you haven't considered.

What are the Differences?

By no means a comprehensive list, here are a few of the implications of aging:

  1. Older people are more sensitive to temperature changes.
  2. They are less able to cope with the side effects of drugs because their kidney and liver function (the ability of their body to remove the drugs from their systems) are less efficient.
  3. Their bones become less dense. 
  4. Their night vision is poorer and their reactions slower, and they cope with dry eyes.
  5. They tend to not hear high pitched sounds as well.
  6. Some people have issues with constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence.
  7. Their immune system is less efficient, making them more prone to infections.
  8. Many serious medical issues, such as heart attacks, depression, and thyroid issues present differently than in younger people and are easily misdiagnosed by a medical professional not familiar with the elderly population.
Should you consider a different doctor?

Changing doctors can be a difficult decision, and not one considered lightly. In some communities, finding any doctor to take on a new patient is a challenge. Why would you contemplate such a move?
Here are a few questions to evaluate:

1. Does your present doctor serve a significant aging population and understand the differences?

2. When you take your elder to their GP, do they see one doctor or are their several physicians and you may get any one of them?

3. Are you in an area where a geriatrician is available, and would you be able to get a referral to them?

4. Are you comfortable with wait times in the office and the level of respect given your elder when they visit the doctor? (We'll be dealing with this in another blog post.)

5. How would your elder respond to the suggestion of changing doctors? If the reasons were explained, would they be open to it?

When you weigh all the options, changing doctors might not be the best option. Or it might be the wisest move you could make. 

Only you and your elder know the answer.

Care Partner Wednesday--Do You Have The Right Doctor?


  1. Choosing the right doctor is very important. My husband and I have learned that each doctor is unique. If we are not happy with one, we search for another. We need a doctor who will truly listen and take time with us. We appreciate doctors who aren't rushing us out in 15 minutes.

  2. You are so right, Melissa! Stay tuned as we address the issue of doctor etiquette in two weeks.