Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Tips for Eye Doctor Visits
If you provide care for a loved one who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, you probably have lots of questions for their physician and not a lot of time. To get the most out of medical appointments, consider these tips from ophthalmologists, physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care.
Book appointments at times in which your loved one is at their best or consider times when the doctor's office is least crowded. If their issue is complex or if they are dealing with multiple issues, you may need to book more frequent visits, instead of tackling all the issues in one visit.
Make a list of issues you'd like to address with the doctor. Make a list of every medication they take, including over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Bring paper and pen so you can write down information from the doctor. You might also record the conversation so that you can listen to it again later. If you don't understand something, ask for clarification.
Be ready to answer questions about symptoms and behavior. Have you noticed any changes in their health? Vision? When did the changes begin? If medication is prescribed, find out exactly what time of day and how much of the drug should be taken. Ask why the medication is being prescribed, how long before you see any improvement, and which side effects might occur.
After the appointment, remember these tips from the Alzheimer’s Association on how to communicate with compassion:
- Give short, one sentence explanations.
- Allow plenty of time for comprehension and then triple it.
- Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way.
- Eliminate ‘but’ from your vocabulary; substitute ‘nevertheless.’
- Avoid insistence. Try again later.