Being honest with the doctor can save future, frequent visits to the physician’s office, and even one’s life. Here are a few things that seniors in assisted living communities should keep in mind when discussing their health and treatment options at the doctor’s office.
1. Tell your doctor about what herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking.
Sometimes we fail to neglect this information because we may feel it’s not important. Non-prescription medication, especially self-prescribed, may be powerful and affect the body and prescription medications in a way one never considered. Some supplements can make a medication stronger or weaker. Not understanding one’s supplements and taking random tablets and capsules at once is much like creating a mad-scientist lab in one’s stomach. You hope everything works out well, but chances are, there will be at least one side-effect – without the proper research. An example is a calcium supplement, which reduces antibiotic absorption, and ginkgo, which can lower blood pressure to dangerous amounts.
2. Tell your doctor the true consistency of your stools, and the frequency
This can be a touchy subject for many patients, as issues such as diarrhea, constipation, or blood in the stools may seem benign or embarrassing. Sometimes, however, these symptoms can point to something more serious, like colon cancer. Not being honest about stool habits and noticeable changes can wreak havoc in one’s body over time, efficiently lessening the effects of any possible future treatment.
3. Tell your doctor if you are feeling depressed
A lot of people don’t want to mention depression because maybe they feel it’s too common or maybe they feel that they are unimportant. Many people are also embarrassed by depression, as it possibly makes them feel weak and unable to cope with life. Seniors do suffer from depression, and for a plethora of reasons that should be addressed. Emotional health is wholly correlated with physical health. Someone that is depressed can get frequent headaches, stomach aches, and feel general malaise. Doctors are trained to treat depression and even prescribe safe treatments and life tips that can prove useful to coping and recovering from depression.
4. Tell your doctor if you are not exercising or eating right
There are many health issues that can arise naturally from not eating correctly. Of course, lab test results are the fruit of our nutritive labor, or lack of. Many people are bombarded with medication that is meant to maintain a ‘normal’ level but at higher weights and sedentary levels. Doctors prefer that a senior take control of their life by exercising and eating healthy foods. If the doctor asks about those unhealthy doughnut and coffee morning habits, be honest. Being honest with the doctor, in turn, is being honest with oneself, and helps promote healthier changes. Of course, it’s embarrassing to tell the doctor that one isn’t doing the best they can, but a doctor is there to help and improve the health, regardless of what’s going on and what bad choices are currently being made.
Being honest with the doctor about these four aspects can significantly improve one’s health and relationship with the physician. When a senior citizen in an assisted living community is honest with their physician, they take greater control of their own life by choosing to make healthier choices based on their current health condition and lifestyle.