Eldercare Series: When Your Elder’s Doctor Retires

Caring for an adult loved one, such as a parent, can be a full time job all by itself. You may help them with daily living activities like cleaning, cooking, bathing, and running errands. If your elder has health issues, you may also find yourself managing their medications and transporting them to their medical appointments. One issue that you may have to deal with as a caregiver is a retiring primary care physician.

Many senior citizens have seen the same doctor for years, even decades. They have built a relationship with their doctor, and it never crosses their mind that one day their doctor may retire. As their caregiver, you are likely the one to dealing with the task of finding a new doctor. Changing primary care physicians can also happen if your loved one moves to a new location, such as from their home to yours, or if their insurance changes and their current doctor is no longer covered.

Many doctors give their patients months of notice before they retire, allowing you time to find a good replacement. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important that you start planning for the change now, and preparing your elder for seeing someone new. The following steps will help you get through this stressful time, as painlessly as possible.

Contact the current doctor: Ask them if a specific physician will be taking over their patients. If it is doctors in the same office, this means that there is a chance your elder may have already seen them once or twice over the years. This can also make things covenant, as you will not have to worry about transferring medical records or getting directions to the new office. If another doctor is not taking over the patients, ask your elder’s doctor for recommendations on new physicians who also accept your loved ones insurance.

Contact your local College of Physicians & Surgeons: If your doctor does not have someone taking over his or her patients, your next step is to contact your local College of Physicians & Surgeons. They will have a list of medical professionals in your area that are accepting new patients. Pick a few out, and schedule an appointment. A good tip is to pick a younger doctor that still has many years before they retire so you don’t have to do this all over again. Visit the New To Canada website to find your local College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Take notes on how friendly the staff is, how comfortable you and your elder are in the waiting room, and how clean the facility feels. Make notes about any perks there are to the office, like extended hours, weekend appointments, and 24-hour nurse lines. Take into consideration travel time to the office, the ease of parking, stairs that may be hard for your elder to climb each visit, and if the doctor treats a large number of seniors. Allow your elder to ask the doctor any questions he or she may have, and to help make the decision on who their new doctor will be.

Once you and your elder have chosen the new physician, make sure that he or she gets everything they need to properly treat your loved one. Have all medical files sent over, and provide a list of all current medications. If the doctor that is retiring will be closing their office completely, get these records now before it is too late. By following the steps above, you and your elder can have a smooth transition to the new healthcare provider.

Did your elder’s doctor recently retire, leaving you scrambling for a replacement? What qualities did you look for in the new physician? If you have any tips that could help others, please leave a comment and share. Also, don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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