1.     Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone! 
2.     Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
3.     Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. 
4.     Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors. 
5.     Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
6.     Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it. 
7.     Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one. 
8.     Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
9.     Make sure legal documents are in order.
10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
11. As much as you can try to plan ahead to avert crisis. We are all approaching the inevitable. 

Because You Care

First published by Caregivers Action Network

Here is a checklist to help you make the most of your doctor’s visit:

Before the Visit
  • Write down all questions or any concerns you might have so you don’t forget them. This will help you state them clearly. Regardless of how insignificant you feel the doctor may think it is– ASK!
  • Identify current symptoms. Use the following handy symptom-reporting guide.
  • Update the patient file and medication list. Be sure to include all medications, over the counter drugs and supplements.
  • Call to confirm appointment
During the Visit
  • Bring the updated medication list
  • Clearly report all of your loved one’s symptoms; don’t try to diagnose the problem.
  • Ask your questions and record the answers
  • Record doctor's instructions
  • Discuss recommendations
  • Verify follow-up
After the Visit
  • Review your notes
  • Check prescriptions
  • Discuss the visit
  • Update your calendar
  • Call for test results
What types of questions to ask if it’s the first visit:
  • What can we expect as the normal progression of the diagnosis?
  • What kind of physical and emotional support will she/he need to maintain independence?
  • Are there particular signs and symptoms we need to look for and report?
  • Is there any training I need in order to be able to support her/him? If so where can we get the training?
  • How best can we manage pain or discomfort?
  • What is and what is not treatable?
  • Are there any assistive devices or gadgets that will help in maintaining independence?
  • Are there any resources or services that would be helpful for her/him or for us as caregivers?

Because You Care

First published at: http://www.caregiveraction.org/profiles/tools/doctor-office-checklist/
and Washington State Department of Social Services Aging and Long-Term Support Administration

PicturePhoto By: Andrew Malone