Visiting the Doctor

It is important that the person with Alzheimer’s disease receive regular medical care. Advance planning can help the trip to the doctor’s office go more smoothly.

Try to schedule the appointment for the person’s best time of day. Also, ask the office staff what time of day the office is least crowded.

Let the office staff know in advance that this person may be confused because of Alzheimer’s disease. Ask them for help to make the visit go smoothly.

Don’t tell the person about the appointment until the day of the visit or even shortly before it is time to go. Be positive and matter-of-fact.

Bring along something for the person to eat and drink and any materials or activities that he or she enjoys.

Have a friend or another family member go with you on the trip, so that one of you can be with the person while the other speaks with the doctor.

  • Take a brief summary listing the person’s medical history, primary care doctor, and current medications.
  • Be calm and quiet. Avoid using a loud tone of voice or talking to the person as if he or she were a child.
  • Respect the person’s personal space and don’t get too close.
  • Try to establish eye contact and call the person by name to get his or her attention.
  • Remind the person who you are if he or she doesn’t seem to recognize you.
  • Don’t argue if the person is confused. Respond to the feelings you hear being communicated, and distract the person to a different topic if necessary.

Remember not to take it personally if the person doesn’t recognize you, is unkind, or responds angrily. He or she is reacting out of confusion.

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