Alzheimer's Disease: Essential Questions to Ask Your Doctor

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Featuring

Katherine Jimenez and Sarah DiSandro

This audio presentation provides information on how you can take an active role in managing your healthcare by having an open conversation with your doctor.

  • Katherine Jimenez: Hi, I’m Katherine Jimenez, and I’m with Alzheimer’s Disease Research, a program of the BrightFocus Foundation, a nonprofit organization leading the fight to save sight and mind. 

    Sarah DiSandro: And I’m Sarah DiSandro.

    Today, we’ll talk about the essential questions you should ask your doctor about Alzheimer’s disease. These questions were developed to help you take charge of your healthcare.

    Katherine Jimenez: Yes, it’s important that you closely manage your healthcare by having an open conversation with your doctor. Make sure that you write down your questions ahead of time, and don't leave the office without understanding the recommendations for your condition, your doctor's responsibilities, and your responsibilities. If you think you may have problems recording or remembering the responses to your questions, bring a friend or family member to the appointment. You can also prepare for your visit by reading educational materials on Alzheimer’s disease, including publications provided by the BrightFocus Foundation.

    Sarah DiSandro: Here are 12 questions to ask your doctor. Take note of the ones that you feel best fit your situation. Remember to write down your doctor’s responses as well. OK, here are the questions.

    • How much experience do you have in diagnosing and treating people with Alzheimer's disease? If you haven't had much experience with Alzheimer's patients, can you recommend a specialist who has?
    • How can you be sure the problems I'm experiencing are really Alzheimer's disease and not just a part of the normal aging process?
    • Exactly what tests are you conducting?
    • Am I taking any medications that could be making my symptoms worse?
    • What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and what stage am I in right now?
    • What changes can I expect over time in behavior and mental capabilities? How quickly will these changes occur?
    • Is it safe for me to drive? Is it likely that I may lose the capacity to drive over time?
    • Should coworkers and friends be told about this diagnosis? Do you have any advice about the best approaches to use in discussing Alzheimer's with them?
    • What's the best place for care, at home or in a nursing facility?
    • Are you aware of any new information or research concerning Alzheimer’s disease?
    • What are the chances another family member will get this disease?

    And our last question:

    • What services and support organizations for Alzheimer's disease are in my area?

    Katherine Jimenez: Thanks everyone for listening. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease or to get involved in advancing research to end this degenerative brain disease, visit brightfocus.org, or call 1-855-345-6ADR. Again, that’s 1-855-345-6237. Thanks again everyone.

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