Secrets of Those 55+ in Getting the Most from Their Doctor

Once you get past age 55 going to the doctor will become a common routine. Learn to get the most from your doctor. Top hint: If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers.

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Secrets of Those 55+ in Getting the Most from Their Doctor
3 Min Read September 15th, 2019

We all know that as we get older, a variety of ailments are bound to pop up ranging from arthritis to bone diseases to fractures, falls, and even more serious illnesses like diabetes or cancer. We also know that unlike when we were younger, we don’t bounce back from even minor ailments as quickly as we might have when we were younger. It’s simply a fact of growing older. As we age, senior health episodes can become life-threatening more quickly so it’s important to have a good relationship with your doctor. However, it’s most important that you communicate well with your doctor so he or she can help you more effectively. Here are a few tips to help you (or to help your elderly loved one) work better with your (or his/her) doctor:

  • Be prepared! Before arriving at the doctor’s office, make a list. Write down the issues you wish to discuss, and be as comprehensive as possible. Let the doctor know of changes you’ve seen in your or your elderly loved one’s general health or particular symptoms you’ve seen. Make a list of the medications, vitamins, supplements, etc. that are taken. If lab tests were completed recently, bring the results with you.
  • Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions. Nothing should be off-limits. Your doctor, as they say, “has seen it all before,” so don’t be shy.
  • If you don’t understand something, speak up. If your doctor is describing what might be wrong or is discussing a course of action, don’t be afraid to ask him or her to clarify something you don’t understand, or to speak in “layman’s terms.”
  • Ensure you understand the outcomes that should be achieved. For example, ask how you’ll know if the course of action is working or if the medication is doing its job. What if you or your loved one is not getting better? Before you leave the doctor’s office, you should know what to expect in the coming days, weeks, and months.
  • Understand the side effects of medication. Most medications may have a number of side effects, with some being just an annoyance, while others seeming more serious. Talk to your doctor about side effects that should not worry you, and those that could be cause for concern. Knowing this will put your mind at ease.
  • Understand what the doctor means if he or she refers you to a specialist. If your doctor believes you or your loved one needs to see a specialist, ask the doctor why this is the case and what you should expect. Also, ask the doctor about the qualifications of the specialist as you likely won’t know this new doctor. After you’ve seen the specialist, ensure your primary doctor and your specialist are in communication about your case.
  • Get written instructions. Before leaving your doctor’s office, write down--or ask the doctor to do so--specific instructions on next steps so you don’t forget anything.

The National Institute on Age (NIH) has published a guide for those 55+ on how to prepare for the doctor and how to speak with them during your appointment You can download this free guide by clicking here:

Remember, your doctor is working for you. Make sure you get the most out of the appointment. It’s their job and it’s your (or your loved ones) health!

This article was written by Andrew Mastrandonas, Co-founder & CEO of Pillar ( and reviewed by Dr Lim Geng Yan (M.D). Pillar provides a range of elderly home caregiving services, sending trained and certified professional caregivers and nurses to clients’ homes. For more information please visit

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About the Author

Andrew Mastrandonas, Co-founder & CEO of Pillar (, Asia’s leading home care company. He is also Director of JPE Group, Asia's Most Comprehensive Care, Recovery & Senior Living Solutions organization. For more information please visit This article was reviewed by Dr Lim Geng Yan (M.D).

LTC News Contributor Andrew Mastrandonas

Andrew Mastrandonas

Contributor since June 16th, 2019

Editor's Note

There should be no secret that you should plan for the impact aging will have on your family and finances. With longevity comes the much higher risk you will need help with normal activities of daily living or even supervision due to cognitive decline. People require long-term care services and support due to illness, accidents, or the impact of aging.

The problem is many people are unaware of is health insurance (including Medicare and Medicare Supplements for those 65+) will only pay for a very limited amount of skilled care. They pay nothing toward “custodial care”. This is help with those ADL’s or supervision due to memory loss. Since most people who require long-term care services need custodial care this becomes a huge problem.

Without advance planning, many American families are forced into “crisis management”. This forces adult children, or their spouses, to become caregivers. This has a dramatic effect on their careers, families, finances, and even their own health.

Paid care is very expensive. It can quickly drain retirement accounts of even the well-to-do. Even if you have substantial assets you probably didn’t save money just to pay for long-term care.

The easy solution is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. These policies provide benefits for all types of homecare in addition to other services like adult daycare centers, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, and even nursing homes.

This isn’t a small risk. With advances in medical science, we survive accidents and health events more often. This adds to longevity and longevity itself increases the risk of needing extended care due to age alone. Longevity also increases the risk of memory loss. There are many types of dementia and that comes with the territory of aging.  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates you have a seven in ten chance of needing some type of long-term care service before you die … if you reach the age of 65. Now it might not last that long … you may never face the situation. However, the odds that you or a spouse will require care is fairly high. Since the costs and impact will have a big impact on income and lifestyle you better consider planning.

Start your research by finding your state on the LTC News map by clicking here. You will find everything from the cost of care, to available tax incentives, and more.

Then find a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the best coverage at the best value. A specialist is best able to navigate underwriting and policy design. Since premiums can vary over 250% between companies for the same coverage, working with a specialist will be a huge asset. Find an experienced specialist by clicking here.

Long-Term Care Insurance can be a key part of your retirement plan. However, it is best to start planning prior to retirement when you can enjoy lower premiums and the most available options.

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