Often, part of caring for an elder includes accompanying them to medical appointments. To make the most of these healthcare sessions, encourage your elder to use the following tips to promote a healthcare partnership with his or her doctors:

  • Take along a notepad or tape recorder to capture the doctor's comments and instructions.

  • Remember to wear your hearing aid and eyeglasses.

  • Don't be shy about asking the doctor to slow down or speak up.

  • Take someone with you to serve as an extra set of ears, take notes, and advocate for your well-being.

  • Put your prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal remedies in a bag and bring them with you (or take a written list).

  • Take along a one-page concise list of questions and concerns, organized in order of importance (with a copy for the doctor).

  • Talk openly about your diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits, as well as major life changes (such as moving in with children or losing a loved one).

  • Ask the doctor to explain anything you don't understand in plain English.