People with Alzheimer’s disease need regular medical care to address a range of issues. If you’re accompanying a loved one with Alzheimer’s on doctor’s visits, you probably have many questions — and a very short time available with the doctor. Here are some tips for making these appointments as productive as possible.
Write down a list of everything you want to discuss with the doctor. Put these in order from most to least important. That way, if you run out of time, you’ll have addressed your most important concerns.
If you have questions about their medications and possible interactions, write down a complete list of everything they are taking (including over-the-counter drugs) so nothing gets missed.
Ensure you are ready to answer any questions the doctor has about your loved one’s behaviour and symptoms. Are they eating regularly? Are they comfortable? Have they become aggressive? Have there been changes in mood? As the dementia progresses, your insight and experience will be a very important factor in making decisions about their care.
Take detailed notes during the appointment so you don’t forget any important points. It’s a lot to take in at once. If it’s alright with the doctor, it might be a good idea to record the conversation on your phone so you can go over it again later.
If you don’t fully understand something the doctor says, ask for clarification.
If the person with Alzheimer’s has a time of day when they’re at their best, try and schedule medical appointments then. If possible, consider booking appointments when the clinic’s office will be less crowded.
If there is a misunderstanding or conflict during an appointment, do your best to discuss and resolve it immediately. Switching doctors can be confusing to a person with Alzheimer’s, and may also be detrimental to their care in the long run.
Ask For Help
If you need help with your loved one’s care, ask the doctor. They can put you in touch with helpful community resources, such as senior centres, support groups, meal services and respite care providers.