As I accompany older adults to the doctor’s office, I often see the same thing happening. The doctor talks to me, but not the patient. The patient is left in the middle, feeling excluded and left out of the exchange. This happens all the time, and it doesn’t seem to matter if the patient is able to understand the situation or not. Even when an older adult is able to make their own decisions, they are often not spoken to directly.
Let’s say the patient has memory loss and they will not be making their medical decisions alone. They still should be addressed directly. It is important to include the person in the conversation—it is their health, their life.
Now, when this happens, I look at the person instead of the doctor so that the doc will catch on. If they don’t, I say, “Please address Jean.” There should be no games at the doctor’s office.