The National Institute on Aging points out that: “You only have 18 seconds — that’s the average time a doctor waits before interrupting a patient. Be prepared for your visit.” Check out the NIA’s guide on preparing to meet with your doctor – both a new doctor or a doctor you’ve seen previously.
The NIA offers three basic tips:
1) Make a list of concerns in order of their importance to you.
2) Write down all your medications, vitamins, and supplements.
3) Note all health and life changes since your last visit.
The NIA’s “Guide for Older People: Talking with Your Doctor” is available here. (Also available in Spanish.)
Of that publication, I thought the webpage on “Getting Ready for Your Appointment” was the most helpful.
And there are some useful worksheets at the end of the publication worth printing out and using. The worksheets list concerns, diet changes, medication changes, lifestyle changes, thoughts/feelings, other changes, and medications (name of drugs, what it’s for, date started, doctor, color/shape, dose and instructions).
You could download the PDF and print the worksheets out from there. It might be useful to print out the worksheets and place them on your refrigerator door. Whenever something comes up that you think you’d like to tell your doctor about, you can add it to the worksheet.