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8 Questions to Ask Your Senior's Doctor

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The senior population of the United States is growing each year. In 2018, there were 52 million seniors with significant growth expected for the next ten years. Life expectancy has also increased. Many of these seniors are living alone and are dependent on their families to be part of their health safety net. 

It can be helpful for family members to develop a list of questions to ask the doctor so that they become familiar with the senior's specific medical condition. Before the appointment, it is wise to reflect on what is known, such as medications, the basic quality of life issues, home safety, mental health, and any other concerns or recent changes in behavior.

Below are a few questions designed to help prepare for your loved one's next doctor appointment. Make sure to take notes so you can refer to them later and do your own research. 

1. What are the doctor's thoughts on your senior's current condition? What are their recommendations for treatment? What should you, as the caregiver, be watching out for? 

2. What is the purpose of each medication? What are the side effects? What is the daily dosage? If cost is a problem, can a generic version be used? If your senior is taking multiple prescriptions, how do they interact with each other?

3. Will the doctor coordinate with other doctors? How are prescribed medications coordinated? It's important to note that many seniors have one adult care specialist plus one or two specialists. Care and medications must be reviewed regularly to ensure that one medication does not negate or interact negatively with another. 

4. Does your senior need any follow-up visits or tests? What kind? When? Why? How will the results be communicated? 

5. What does the doctor think about your senior's current nutrition? Many seniors lose their appetite. This may be caused by medications, lack of cooking, or general health conditions. This is a good time for evaluation and perhaps scheduling an appointment with a dietitian.

6. Is there additional risk of falling? This is an excellent question to get the doctor involved as medical conditions and medications can each play a role in falls. Be aware that the doctor may recommend a home safety evaluation. 

7. What local senior resources are available? It's helpful to understand what services are in the area, and your senior's doctor is a great place to start.

8. Do you have the best possible treatment plan moving forward? Are the medications correct moving forward? Are there any natural treatment options? 

Remember that it is challenging for many seniors to remember everything a doctor says during a visit. It's expected that, without a family member, your senior's appointment will not be as effective as it could be.

At Evergreen Senior Living, we understand the difficulties in helping a parent manage their health and medications. If it's time to consider a senior living option, our assisted living or memory care communities may be the best option for your loved one. Give us a call today to learn more - (217) 274-5440.

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