What's Up, Doc?

From Tara Coates
With a background in nursing, AARP President Jennie Chin Hansen introduced several sessions on health and medicine this week, including, "What's Up, Doc?" Experts in geriatric medicine offered valuable, easy-to-digest nuggets to help AARPers become active participants in the doctor-patient relationship--and avoid doctors when possible. Among the suggestions:

  • No doctor went to medical school to be rude to patients, so if your doctors are rude or not listening, call them on it. If you don't like your doctor, get a new one. It's not a popularity contest.
  • 2.7 million Americans die from falls. Be safe and make sure your house is safe.
  • When you visit your doctor, know your medications (not "I take a red pill in the morning and a blue one at night") and bring a list of questions. Start with the last item on your list, because, that's usually the question that concerns patients most.
  • It doesn't pay to lie your to doctor. If she asks if you smoke, don't say never if you just quit two days ago. If you're feeling blue, mention it. Many older people who commit suicide have seen a doctor in the last month.
  • Yes, get the seasonal and swine flu vaccines.
  • Bring reading glasses to the emergency room. You'll need to read what you're signing, but more practical, at least you'll be able to read while you're waiting.
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