Get More From Your Next Doctor's Visit: Be A “Prepper”
Time with your doctor can be limited these days.
However, with a little preparation and planning, you can make the most of every minute of your appointment.
My recommendations, as a geriatrician, are as follows:
- Bring every medication you are currently taking in their prescription bottles. In a separate holder, bring all the old drugs you have around the house, plus vitamins, herbs and “nutraceuticals.” This includes prescription creams and eye drops.
- Pack along an extra pair of ears. These can be attached to a relative, a friend, or a hired advocate. This person should have a notepad and pen to take notes.
- Bring a written list of your medical concerns. This list should be generated over the week before you see your doctor. A pen and a sheet of paper on the kitchen table will suffice. Everybody in the house can write in their concerns about you. Do not be angry with them—be happy they care enough to do this.
- Bring along a written list of your questions. A copy for you. A copy for the doctor. A copy for your advocate to take notes on.
- Bring along the attitude that you are now part of a team. This team exists to keep you in your best functional shape as you continue to age. The goal is you are able to do what you want to do for as long as possible.
It’s not so hard to have a good visit with your doctor if you help with the preparation and planning.
Joanne E Helppie, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and is Board Chair of Aging Projects, Inc.