How can I help my parent get her questions answered at the eye doctor's?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 24, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother, who has cataracts, doesn't ask the eye doctor questions, but when we leave she asks me to explain what he said or even mentions things she wanted to ask but didn't. How can I help her feel less intimidated?

Expert Answers

Lylas Mogk, M.D. is an ophthalmologist and director of the Henry Ford Visual Rehabilitation and Research Center in Grosse Pointe and Livonia, Michigan, and the author of Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight.

I suggest that your parent make a list of all of her questions and concerns and give it to the doctor (or to the nurse, who will give it to the doctor with your mother's chart). Then all she has to do is ask him to look at the list and tell her the answers.

For questions that come up during the visit, it's fine for you to speak up on your mother's behalf, if you can anticipate any questions she might have. If you ask the doctor to explain something, your mother may see that that's an acceptable thing to do and follow suit. You can also ask her -- while you're still with the doctor -- if she has any questions or if there's anything that she doesn't understand.

Also, encourage your parent to call the office if she has questions after returning home. Some doctors even provide their e-mail address to patients who have follow-up questions.