Mistake #4: Not understanding what the doctor says

The Problem:

All too often, doctors talk in “Medicalese” instead of plain English, making it impossible to  understand what they are saying.  Sometimes older patients are hard of hearing, don’t speak English as their native language, are anxious, or for other reasons simply don’t understand the doctor.  It is impossible to implement the physician’s plan of care if the plan is misunderstood.  Thus, it is crucial for patients to insist on an explanation, diagnosis, and treatment plan they can understand.

The Solution:

Seniors should take someone with them to their appointments if they have had problems understanding their doctor for any reason in the past.  A family member, trusted friend, or professional Geriatric Care Manager can be highly effective in this role.  Also, askign the doctor to write down the diagnosis, medications, side effects, and other such information can help enure it is understood and remembered.