Is Your Elderly Parent Afraid Of Having An MRI? How To Help Them Overcome Their Fear

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If you're in charge of healthcare for your elderly parent, and they're refusing an MRI, you might have your work cut out for you. You know that your parent needs to have the MRI, but you also know that you can't force them to have the procedure. If your parent suffers from claustrophobia, or they've been diagnosed with dementia, they may be fearful of the procedure. Luckily, there are some steps you can take that will help to reduce the fears your parent is experiencing. 

Do Talk to Their Doctor

If your elderly parent is fearful of having an MRI, the first thing you need to do is talk to their doctor. It is possible that their doctor may be able to prescribe a mild sedative for your parent. A sedative will allow your parent to relax before their appointment, which means they will be more relaxed when they enter the radiology department. Be sure to ask the doctor to make a note of the apprehension in your parent's medical records. That way, they'll be prepared the next time your parent needs that type of medical test. 

Don't Transfer Your Own Fear

If you're worried about the MRI that your parent is scheduled to undergo, try not to show it. You could accidentally pass that worry onto your parent. If that happens, they may experience more fear about the MRI than they ordinarily would. The best thing you can do is remain calm. 

Do Understand Your Loved One's Concerns

If your parent is afraid to undergo their MRI, don't disregard the fear. Instead, try to understand where your parent is coming from. One way to do that is to sit down and discuss the feelings your parent is experiencing. If your parent expresses confusion about the procedure, arrange to sit down with their doctor. The doctor may be able to alleviate the fear by explaining the MRI procedure in a way that your parent will understand. 

Don't Assume All MRI Machines are the Same

If your elderly parent is fearful about the MRI that they need to undergo, try to choose the right machine. This is especially important if your parent suffers from dementia or claustrophobia. Many people believe that all MRI machines are the same, but that's not the case. Standard MRI machines require a person to remain inside a confined space, which can be traumatic for someone who suffers from claustrophobia or dementia. But, there are MRI machines that provide larger openings, which helps to relieve anxiety and fear.

For more information about preparing your parent for a radiology appointment, contact a local physician.