Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Are you always honest with how you feel – with yourself, your family and even your doctor? Apparently, the answer is no, and surprisingly, new research shows that 60-80% of seniors admit to not telling their doctor the entire truth about their own healthcare concerns.
Why are so many people reluctant to have open, candid and sincere conversations with healthcare providers? The answer may lie in not wanting to be lectured, fear of being judged, embarrassment, and anxiety over what your doctor will think of you. You may also be afraid of the outcome.
Sweeping problems under the carpet, ignoring them, or pretending they don’t exist won’t make them go away. Over time, a minor ailment may turn into a chronic condition that’s more difficult to manage. A mild symptom could lead to a more serious concern. Not having a complete picture with information that can only come from you can make diagnosis by your doctor difficult or in some cases, impossible. Next time you’re hesitant about telling the doctor what’s on your mind, put your worries aside and let them help you.
Here are five factors related to your health and well-being that you should always be honest about and discuss with your doctor.
Memory loss – You may not want to mention memory loss or changes to your thinking for fear of being told that you have Alzheimer’s disease. There are many different diseases that can cause the symptoms of dementia; Alzheimer’s is only one of them. There’s a good chance that something else, like a medication or a urinary tract infection, could be underlying what is going on and can be easily treated. If it is memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s, there are benefits to receiving an early diagnosis. Or you may also find out that your type of memory loss is normal for your age.
Exercise routine – Exercise is one area of lifestyle that almost everyone can improve upon. If you’re sedentary, don’t be embarrassed. Minor incremental improvements to your activity level can pay off and your doctor can help you find affordable and accessible programs and resources in your community that you’ll enjoy. A side benefit that you may gain from going to an exercise class – valuable time spent socializing with others.
Sleep issues – It’s hard to be healthy and feel well if you’re not getting adequate sleep. Good sleep hygiene is important. If your sleep suffers, seek help from your doctor so he or she can give you advice on how to get the ZZZ’s you need or determine what’s keeping you up at night.
Falls – Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits by seniors and often precipitate a move to a nursing home. If you’ve had falls, let your doctor know so they can evaluate the cause, recommend mobility exercises or equipment, and help keep you on your feet
Depression and anxiety – Your mental health is as vital to your overall wellbeing as your physical health and often overlooked in older adults. A little sadness or stress is normal but too much can lead to depression and anxiety and many associated health issues. Talk to your doctor if you feel blue for more than a few days or you have difficulty coping with daily life.
When it comes to managing your health, you owe it to yourself to be honest with your doctor. You’ll be glad you did!
If you’re caring for an elderly loved one and you’re feeling like you’re in over your head, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law may be able to help. Just give our office a call.