How to Talk to Your Doctor


August 27, 2014

Your doctor plays a crucial role in your health. Especially when older age brings concerns such as Alzheimer’s or arthritis, your primary physician often becomes the nucleus around which your medical care revolves. Yet as seniors cope with more health conditions and doctors contend with growing patient loads, many people feel frustrated with their physicians. To make sure that you get the care you need—and deserve—consider these tips for your next appointment or checkup:

Prepare for Your Appointments

Does the following scenario sound familiar? You arrive at the doctor’s office with a few questions on your mind. Your physician then charges into the room, hurried and brisk, causing you to get flustered and forget your questions. If you have experienced this situation, make sure that you write down beforehand every concern you want to discuss with your physician. At your appointment, have your list in hand and ask that he address each question on it.

Bring a Family Member

Even when your doctor takes the time to go over your questions, you may not remember all of his answers. That’s why having a trusted loved one at your side can prove invaluable at your next visit. Especially when discussing a condition such as cancer or dementia, which can provoke emotional responses, it may be difficult to take down notes on treatment recommendations or other important information. Instead, let a family member do it for you.

Get Comfortable Asking Questions

Doctors have years of medical expertise, but don’t be afraid to question their advice. Reputable physicians know that patients must be their own advocates and will not take offense if you want a second opinion. As NIHSeniorHealth points out, you should also ask your doctor to explain confusing medical jargon. Though asking questions may make you nervous, remember that your health might pay the price for your silence.


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