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Senior Living: Visiting your doctor

November 04, 2010|By Nancy Turney

Q. Now that I've made my list to take to the doctor, what do I need to be aware of once I'm there?

The things you can bring to your visit that make talking with your doctor easier include: your visit plan; glasses and/or hearing aids, if you use them; and a family member or friend.

Sometimes it is helpful to bring a family member or close friend with you to your doctor visit. During your visit, this person can remind you about what you want to talk about, take notes, and help you remember what your doctor says. You can still have time alone with your doctor to talk about personal matters.

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Rank your list of concerns and questions by importance.

Talk about the three or four most important concerns or questions first. If you put off talking about the items that are bothering you most, you may run out of time to talk about them during the visit. Afterwards, if you have time, you can talk about the other things on your list.

Use your visit plan to stick to the point.

Your doctor may not have a lot of time to talk with you. Therefore, it is important for you to stay focused on what you planned to talk about. For example, give a brief summary of what is bothering you most, when the symptom started, how often it happens, and if it is getting worse or better.

Remember, your doctor may not be able to answer all of your questions.

Most doctors will tell you when they do not have answers. They may be able to help you find the information you need or refer you to another doctor, a specialist, who can answer your questions.

It is important for you to discuss sensitive topics with your doctor because they can affect your health. Sensitive health issues, like sexual problems or memory loss, concern many older people, but they are not just normal parts of aging. You may find some of these topics embarrassing, but remember, your doctor is used to talking about personal matters.

A fall can cause injury and short- or long-term loss of independence. It is normal to fear falling, but you do not want to let your fear affect your daily activities. You can talk to your doctor about things you can do to lessen your chances of falling, such as exercises to improve your balance.

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