Health care - Working with health care professionals - Questions to ask your health care team

It is normal to have many questions about dementia. Whenever you think of one, write it down and keep a running list for your next visit with a member of your health care team. Working with your health care team is a two-way street – it is just as important for you to share your health concerns and wishes as it is for your health care team to share information with you. Below are some frequently asked questions about the types of information you need to share with your health team, and questions to ask of them.

Frequently asked questions

What questions should I ask members of my health care team? Click for answer

After you have received a diagnosis, you may continue to have questions of health care professionals. Here are some questions you may like to ask:

  • Where can I go in the community to get help?
  • What kinds of activities can I do to keep active?
  • What kinds of changes should I expect over the next six months or 12 months?
  • Would any of the current treatments for dementia be suitable for me?
  • What can I do to lessen the side effects of my dementia medication?
  • Are there medications that I should avoid?
  • When should I come back for my next appointment?

Source: The information above was reprinted with additions with permission from Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2001). Shared experiences: Suggestions for those with Alzheimer disease. [Booklet]. Toronto, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Canada.

What should I ask my pharmacist? Click for answer

There are a lot of questions your pharmacist can answer. Never leave the hospital or pharmacy if you do not fully understand how to use your medication. 

See the pharmacological treatment options section for a list of questions for your pharmacist and information about medications.

What information does my physician or members of my health care team need from me? Click for answer

Before meeting a member of your health care team, you should prepare yourself. Below is a checklist to help you get ready for your next visit:

  • Did you bring all of your medication, in bottles, including over-the-counter medications like vitamins and herbal medications, or a list of medications including the strength (e.g. 5mg)?
  • Did you write down questions or concerns before the appointment? Recognize that not all issues can be dealt with at one appointment
  • Did your family members or friends write down observations regarding changes (either good or bad) that they have observed since your last appointment? This will help the doctor to better gauge the progression of dementia (either positive or negative), and to follow any improvements after medication
  • Did you arrange for a family member or friend to accompany you to the appointment to provide information, be a second set of ears, and take notes for you during the appointment?
  • Did you keep a list of all doctor or therapy appointments, medical tests, and hospital admissions forms to bring with you to the appointment, to help keep track of important issues?

Source: The above information was reprinted with additions with permission from Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP). (2007). Enhancing communication: an inspirational guide for people like us with early-stage memory loss. A "By Us For Us" Guide. Waterloo, Canada: MAREP.