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Alzheimer's: 7 tips for medical visits
4. Take notes
Bring a note pad and pen so that you can jot down the main points of the doctor's explanation. You might also record the conversation on your cell phone or another device so that you can listen to it again later. Better yet, bring a friend or another family member and ask him or her to take notes or to stay with your loved one while you take notes. If you don't understand something the doctor tells you, ask for clarification.
Also think about seating arrangement in the doctor's office. If your loved one sits next to the doctor and you sit beyond, the doctor can address questions directly to your loved one — and you can nod your head to confirm or refute your loved one's responses.
5. Consider the future
Ask the doctor to discuss what to expect in the next year or two. You might ask about advance directives, long term care or nursing home placement. You might also discuss hospice or palliative care. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare.
6. Ask for referrals or recommendations
If you need help, ask. The doctor can refer you to various community resources, such as meal services, senior centers, respite care and support groups.
7. Deal promptly with conflict
If something annoys you about a particular appointment or if a misunderstanding arises, discuss it with the doctor right away. Work as a team to resolve the problem, rather than rushing to switch doctors. A change could be confusing to your loved one and detrimental to his or her care in the long run.Previous page
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- Caregiver guide. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/caregiverguide.htm. Accessed April 21, 2010.
- Partnering with your doctor: A guide for persons with memory problems and their care partners. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_partneringwithyourdoctor.pdf. Accessed April 21, 2010.
- A guide for older people: Talking with your doctor. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/90DF996C-DF5F-4245-B7CA-B2E1B993D8C7/0/TWYD_Final.pdf. Accessed April 21, 2010.
- Tangalos EG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 18, 2010.