Doctor's Visit: Questions, Answers, and Concerns
In this article about Alzheimer’s and senior care, we will discuss what you can expect during your first doctor’s visit to determine if you or your loved one has Alzheimer's disease.
Preparation for the Appointment With Memory Care Doctor
One of the best ways to prepare for your visit to the doctor’s office is to thoughtfully compile a list of questions. Find a convenient time where you and your loved one can sit down together and talk about questions and concerns that you both have that you hope your doctor
Here are some examples to help begin your list:
- What are the causes for the memory loss? Is it Alzheimer’s or is there another cause for the memory loss?
- Make a list of some of the changes you have noticed. Share these with your doctor.
- Ask the doctor which stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is at? What else is typical of this stage? How long does this stage typically last?
- What medications would be helpful to take at this time? How will these medications help? What are the side effects that we should watch for? Are there any contraindications of taking these medications with any other medications that your loved one may currently be taking?
- Is it safe for your loved one to continue living by themselves?
- Is it still safe for your loved one to drive a vehicle?
- Are there any special programs in the community that help families dealing with Alzheimer’s?
- Are there any Alzheimer’s support groups in the community that you can attend?
Your doctor may not be able to answer these last two, but may be able to point you towards someone who can. Your local Alzheimer’s association will be able to help you with these two questions also.
The Doctor's Visit
At the actual doctor’s visit, ask if you may go into the exam room with your loved one. The doctor will ask many questions. It is best to allow your loved one to answer as many as possible for themselves. Too many times, Alzheimer’s patients find themselves being talked about like they are not even in the room. It is very belittling! Let them answer the questions if they are possible. Empower them as much as and as often as possible to do for themselves.
By going into the examination room with them, you will be able to take notes. This may assure your loved one that they will not have to struggle with trying to remember everything that the doctor is telling them. Being present during the examination will give you a chance to see how well your loved one is able to answer the doctor’s questions.
Just like you have a list of questions to ask, you will also need to be prepared to answer questions that your doctor will ask. Here are examples of questions your doctor may as
- What are some changes you’ve noticed, and when did they first start occurring?
- How are both you and other family members dealing with these issues?
- What adaptations have you made in your loved one’s life and how have they helped?
- Have either you or your loved one had difficulties with depression and/or anxiety? What about increased anger or aggression?
During the visit the doctor will give a short memory test. This test will entail trying to remember a list of words after a period of discussion. Also asking what the current day, month, year or season is.
During the visit the doctor may use medical terms that you are not familiar with. If you or your loved one are not sure about what the doctor is talking about, ask them to explain it to you in a way that you can better understand. Again, take notes. It will be hard to remember everything the doctor says especially if new terms are being explained and discussed. Don’t leave the doctor’s office until you feel like you understand everything that has been said.
Tests to Expect
The doctor will probably order blood tests, and urine tests. These tests will help tell if there is something else that may be causing the changes that you and your loved one have noticed. Your doctor may ask your loved one a series of questions to see what part of the brain is being or has been damaged.
The doctor may even want your loved one to get testing done at a hospital. There they can take pictures of the brain and be a
After the test results come back, the doctor will be able to better assess what is the cause of your loved one’s memory loss.
It is my hope that this article will help you be better prepared for the doctor’s visit, and let you know what to expect at the visit. By doing this, the visit will be the very best it can be, making sure that your loved one is getting the best care possible. Take a deep breath and relax!
Doctor's Appointment Checklist
Click here, to view a checklist from the Alzheimer's Association. It is a two page list that can be printed out and filled out in advance of your appointment.
Older Comments... (This article was moved from another one of my sites to here, and fully updated April 28, 2012)
(wouldn't want you to miss some of the great comments others have shared!)
adeaugustus - This hub is useful and interesting. It will serve a great purpose to humanity. This is such a useful hub, making the list of what to ask the doctor is very important, because i could remember an incidence, that i had to go to a doctor about my spine, i forgot most of the important question, i have been planning to ask him, so i had to call him on phone the other day. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and interesting.
Cloverleaf - Hi Cindy, you are such a great person for sharing this valuable information. This hub makes a great addition to your previous hubs about Alzheimer’s.
Barbara Kay - Very helpful information for those who need it. Alzheimers has become so common now that it seems everyone knows someone who has it or maybe it is because I know older people now than I did when I was younger. Good job.