How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Appointments

Sunrise Senior Living  |  July 17, 2019
How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Appointments
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The relationship between an older adult and their primary care physician is important. While most seniors understand that, some are frustrated at the limited time they have to ask their doctor questions. Physicians’ calendars are often packed, which can make it difficult to have all of your concerns fully addressed.

To help make your physician appointments more successful, we’ve put together a few tips.

Three Tips for a Successful Physician Appointment

The key to having your questions answered and receiving the information you need to feel confident about your healthcare is organization.

These tips will help you do just that:

  1. Keep a daily journal: Whether you are a senior or a caregiver, this can make it easier to track health changes. Take a few minutes to note any changes in health or new symptoms, especially as they relate to a chronic health condition. Also note how well the senior slept, what they ate, and how much water they drank. That makes it easier for you and the physician to spot and track trends.
  2. Prepare a list of questions: The day before you or your older loved one’s physician appointment, sit down and review the journal. List your questions or concerns. The rushed atmosphere during many physician appointments can make it too intimidating to ask questions. Having a list can make it easier to quickly go through them with the physician. Even if they are busy, physicians want to hear your questions so that they can intervene and prevent small problems from becoming big ones.
  3. Organize a portable medical file: Another tip that can make a senior’s physician appointments go more smoothly is to coordinate medical information into one binder or online tool. This is especially true for older adults who have multiple physicians. Have extra copies of all documents, such as medications, medical tests, and allergies, available or easy to access. While electronic records have made it easier for health professionals to share this information, it sometimes takes time for information to be updated.

Using these tips to get organized will help you make the most of your physician appointments.

When to See the Doctor

Another question older adults often have relates to how regularly they need to see a physician, especially if they don’t feel sick. Our article, “How Often Should You Have a Wellness Checkup If You Are a Healthy Senior?” tackles that issue.

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