The American public is aging, and 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care, on average for three years. In spite of this stark reality, the majority of Americans are not prepared to shoulder the costs of long-term care needs. As a result of focus groups conducted nationally by The SCAN Foundation and four years of polling at both the state and national level, the Foundation has found that people are often afraid to think about aging, and as a result, are not having important conversations or taking steps to plan for future care needs- either for themselves or their loved ones.
To help with those important conversations and to pass along actionable information on aging, this series of videos produced by The SCAN Foundation, brings to life some of the tips shared in the Foundation's popular print series,"10 Things You Should Know About Aging with Dignity and Independence."
Here's a "10 Things Checklist" to follow along as you make your way though the videos. Each video is 60-seconds long, user-friendly and includes a simple call-to-action. Please share them with family, friends, and loved ones. Take one minute today to start planning for aging with dignity and independence.
70% Of People Over 65 Need An Average Of Three Years Of Long-Term Care
from The SCAN Foundation on Vimeo.
Gathering your health information and getting organized before your appointment are the key steps to ensuring a productive meeting with your doctor. This is especially important if you're seeing multiple doctors or are meeting with a new physician for the first time.
Make sure the doctor you're seeing has copies of your latest X-ray, MRI or any other test or lab results, including reports from other doctors that you've seen. In most cases, you'll need to do the legwork yourself, which may only require a phone call to your previous doctor's administrative staff, asking for it to be sent, or you may need to go pick it up and bring it to the new office yourself.
Make a list of all the medications you're taking (prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements) along with the dosages, and take it with you to your appointment. Or, just gather up all your pill bottles in a bag and bring them with you.
Your doctor also needs to know about any previous hospitalizations, as well as any current or past medical problems, even if they are not the reason you are going to the doctor this time. Genetics matter too, so having your family's health history can be helpful. The U.S. Surgeon General offers a free web-based tool called "My Family Health Portrait" that can help you put one together.
Make a written list of the top three or four issues you want to discuss with your doctor. Since most appointments last between 10 and 15 minutes, this can help you stay on track and ensure you address your most pressing concerns first. If you're in for a diagnostic visit, you should prepare a detailed description of your symptoms.
The best advice when you meet with your doctor is to speak up. Don't wait to be asked. Be direct, honest and as specific as possible when recounting your symptoms or expressing your concerns. Many patients are reluctant or embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, which makes the doctor's job a lot harder to do. It's also a good idea to bring along a family member or friend to your appointment. They can help you ask questions, listen to what the doctor is telling you and give you support.
Follow Dr. Bruce A. Chernof, MD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrBruce_TSF