It appears that seniors in our society have become complacent about ho-hum health care. In a recent study, most seniors stated they were satisfied with their primary health care even though they indicated that their doctors were not asking them about health issues that can mean life or death to older Americans. Almost a third of those polled said that their doctors never asked them about the medications they were taking, and only 30% had doctors who had inquired about their incidence of falling which basically amounts to ignoring the #1 cause of injury for senior citizens. In response to these discoveries, seniors need to step up their game and become more proactive during visits to their primary care doctors.
The number one rule of all doctor visits is to take a list of all the medications you are taking with you, including the dosage. Include any dietary supplements and over-the-counter preparations you are taking, too. You might also consider writing down a list of questions you want to ask. You can do this over the several weeks prior to the appointment. Just jot down thoughts as they come to you, and during time spent with the doctor, you’ll be able to read them off knowing that you aren’t forgetting to mention something important.
Never hesitate to discuss anything relevant with your doctor. Be completely honest, because not even the most skilled physician can keep you in good health without knowing exactly how you’re feeling. Some topics may seem difficult to talk about, but rest assured that your doctor has already heard it all, and anything you have to say is just a part of a physician’s day’s work. Don’t be afraid to admit to the truths about your condition. For example, if you are experiencing difficulty with your driving, don’t hold this information back for fear you may lose your license. It may well be that your doctor can help you with these problems, and, if not, you shouldn’t be driving, for your own safety and that of other drivers.
Make sure your primary care physician is aware of any other doctors you are seeing and any medications the other doctors have prescribed. Your health care program needs to be coordinated by someone, and your primary care doctor is the best one for the job.
Don’t let your doctor try to rush you through a check-up. Ask questions, and insist on answers. Many doctors have little experience with older patients and tend to feel uncomfortable navigating in unknown territory. Therefore, the doctor could be ignoring something that’s wrong with you because he doesn’t want to deal with it. A sad fact about today’s health care is that most seniors totally trust their doctors to take care of them, even when they aren’t. If you feel like you’re getting a runaround, you probably are. The sooner most conditions are diagnosed, the better your chances of beating them. Therefore, insist on the care you deserve. (By Kristie Brown)