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Preparing for your doctor’s visit
There are certain things that you can do before, during, and after your appointment to make the most of your visit:
Before your appointment
Ask a family member or friend to go with you for emotional support. Choose a time of day when you will both be well rested and at ease for your visit.
Download our checklist: Preparing for your doctor’s visit and complete it with a family member in case they’ve noticed symptoms you might have missed.
What to bring with you
Write down the following information to bring with you to your doctor’s office:
- Your symptoms, when they began, whether they have changed over time, and if there are things that make them better or worse
- Prescribed and over-the-counter medications or supplements you are taking
- Any personal and family medical history that may be important
- Questions you would like to ask, such as:
- What are the tests I need to take and how long will it take to get a diagnosis?
- Would you advise me to see a specialist?
- Which treatments are currently available for my symptoms? What are the risks and benefits and possible side effects?
- What kinds of activities can I do to keep active?
- What kinds of changes should I expect over the next six months or 12 months?
- What can I do to lessen the side effects of my medication?
- When should I come back for my next appointment?
During the appointment
- Do not be afraid to ask questions and ask what is most important to you early in the visit.
- Give your doctor specific examples of things that concern you, or ask the person who is accompanying you to provide examples that you may have missed. For example: “My spouse (friend) got lost on her way home from the store last week.”
- Answer the doctor’s questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
- Ask the doctor to explain all the treatment options available, both those involving medication and those related to providing day to day care.
- Ask the doctor to write down any medical terms, particularly if English is not your first language.
- If you do not understand medical words or need more information, consider asking for printed material that explains the condition, tests or recommended treatments.
- Take notes as you talk with the doctor to help you remember what was said. It may be easier for the family member or friend to take notes so that you can focus on listening and asking questions.
- Schedule your next visit before leaving the doctor’s office.
When you get home
- Review the notes from the visit on your own or with the person who recorded them.
- Keep a journal. Write down the things you learn, questions for the doctor, changes, and any reactions to medication. Bring this journal to your next appointment.
- Consider talking to family and friends about health care decisions you are making.
- Request a second opinion if it would make you feel more comfortable.
- For further information, contact your local Alzheimer Society.