10 Things To Discuss With
Your Parent’s Doctor
Forming a relationship with your parent’s doctor is a great way to understand what you father or mother are going through, how you can help them and support them in the best way possible, and what you need to do for them. In order to do so, you need access to their medical files, so be sure to ask your parent for consent before engaging in conversation with their doctor.
If your parent was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you are probably still going through shock. Dealing with this news is hard at first, so make sure to ask the doctor why he believes it to be Alzheimer’s and not something else. Knowing more about the condition will make you feel more in control.
Alzheimer’s disease progresses gradually, but it is still formally divided into three stages: early, middle, and late. Make sure you gain a very clear picture of the situation by informing yourself about your parent’s condition. Each stage manifests differently for every patient, but knowing where they’re at might let you anticipate what could happen next.
Doctors will often put their patients through a series of tests. Usually, we don’t know how these work and what their specific purpose is, we just go along with them. Change the tactics and ask questions about them. Find out what they involve, what side effects they have, how long it takes to know the results, and how accurate they are.
It’s important that you have a good understanding of how the drugs your parents are taking work, and more than that – which ones are best for your parents. If your parent has allergies or is on pills already, communicate this to their doctor. Not doing so could be very dangerous. Don’t decide yourself if your mother or father should use herbal medicine or alternative treatments. Ask first and see how the doctor sees things.
If your doctor hasn’t already brought it up, ask about non-drug therapy, which is a big part of living with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it’s bigger than drug treatment, so make sure to inform yourself extensively on the subject. Counseling and support groups are just the start, but there are plenty of personalized therapy out there, so there must be one for your parent, too.
If your parent’s religion or beliefs constrain her possibilities of treatment, communicate this to their doctor and see what he has to say about it. Discussing options is a good way to understand the complexities of Alzheimer’s disease, and it will give you a better idea of what the best decisions are.
Ask the doctor ways you can change your parent’s lifestyle for the better. Is a diet change a good way to go? Are there certain foods that can help them with Alzheimer’s disease? Should you introduce exercise? How about stress-management techniques? All of these questions will be easier to address to your doctor than to the internet, so make a list and voice your concerns.
A geriatric care specialist is a great asset to you and your parent – ask your doctor if he can give you any contacts. Most physicians have a list of good geriatric care therapists which range from visiting nurses, occupational therapists, and doctors. These are the people you need to know and form a relationship with as the condition progresses.
If you don’t have a medical background or related family history, you probably don’t know too much about dealing with Alzheimer’s. Ask your doctor what you, personally, can do to improve your parent’s situation. A therapist or a counselor can help you overcome emotional or psychological barriers and give you insights to what your parents are feeling and want.
Never forget to ask the doctor how you can get in touch with him in case of an emergency. You should always call when something you cannot understand or don’t know how to handle comes up, as he is the most familiar with your parent’s case and will have a good, contextual solution.
Let your doctor know what your feelings about your visits are. If you think you were rushed, don’t keep silent. If your doctor didn’t bother to explain medical terms and you feel unfamiliarized with your parent’s situation, speak your mind.
Your relationship with your physician should be based on honesty, the starting point for any good relationship. If you manage to form a bond with your parent’s doctor, everything about dealing with Alzheimer’s will be easier and clearer for everybody involved.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California. She knows how important it is to form a good relationship with your doctors, no matter what their role is, and seeks to find ways to do this. Follow her on Twitter for more!
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