When your senior parent goes to see a doctor, chances are good they will get a limited time to talk to the doctor. Whether it’s their primary care physician or a specialist, most of the time people only get only a few minutes of one-on-one time with a doctor. So, it’s important to make the most of those minutes. Seniors need to be proactive about their health and make sure that they are getting the answers they need from the doctor.
It’s always a good idea for seniors to have someone go to medical appointments with them. A home care provider can offer transportation and support to doctor’s appointments on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea for seniors to write down these 10 questions that they should ask the doctor while they are at their appointment:
What Is My Diagnosis?
Sometimes doctors can skip over the actual diagnosis if seniors come in because they are having a medical problem. Seniors should ask their doctors to explain their diagnosis in clear and simple terms. They may also want the doctor to write down the diagnosis so they can look up information about the condition later.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Seniors should ask about all available treatment options and the potential benefits and risks of each treatment. If there are many treatment options or they are complicated it may be a good idea to ask the doctor to email all of that information or upload it to the patient portal.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Medications?
If the doctor prescribes new medications seniors need to know what the potential side effects are, and if those medications will interact with drugs they are already taking. Seniors should also ask if there are any foods that should be avoided while they are taking that medication, such as grapefruit.
How Can I Manage My Symptoms at Home?
For chronic conditions, seniors should ask the doctor or PA about managing symptoms at home. A combination of medication and lifestyle changes can may help seniors with chronic conditions lower their risk of dealing with ongoing painful symptoms.
Are There Any Necessary Screenings or Preventive Measures?
Regular screenings for conditions that often impact seniors can help doctors effectively treat potentially serious illnesses. Seniors should check with their doctor to see if they need to have any routine screenings after a medical appointment.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Improve My Health?
Lifestyle plays a significant role in managing many chronic health conditions. So, seniors should ask their doctors for personalized advice on diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications that can positively impact their well-being. This might also include recommendations for managing stress and improving sleep.
How Can I Manage Chronic Pain or Discomfort?
Seniors dealing with chronic pain should discuss strategies for pain management with their doctors. This may involve a combination of medications, physical therapy, and alternative therapies. Open communication about pain levels is crucial for tailoring an effective pain management plan. Seniors who rely on pain medication should have an open and honest discussion about their pain level and their medication needs.
Should I Worry About ?
Seniors should be aware of the potential warning signs that could indicate a worsening of their condition or the development of complications. Understanding these signs enables timely intervention and can prevent more serious health issues.
Are There Potential Interactions With My Current Medications?
Seniors should bring a list of their current meds and doses to the appointment. Asking the doctor to look over the list and be sure there are no potential interactions could help seniors avoid deadly drug interactions.
What Is the Long-Term Treatment Plan?
The long-term treatment plan may depend on factors like how well initial treatment works, but seniors should still ask about long-term treatment goals. This includes scheduling future appointments, tests, and any necessary referrals to specialists. Seniors may also need to discuss this with receptionists or others who will be scheduling follow up appointments.