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Senior news: Communication is key factor for better health outcomes

Do you remember when a visit to the doctor was for an easily diagnosed and treated ailment, such as measles, ear aches and sore throats?

The visit was not for complex health issues, such as broken hips, knee replacements, urinary infections, fainting spells or heart problems? Life is so much more exciting these days!

But as we make regular visits to our health care providers, it is important to communicate effectively with them. Research shows the better you communicate with your doctor, the better the health outcomes — which is your health.

A critical factor in good communication is asking questions. A simple question can help you feel better, let you take better care of yourself, or even save your life. But there are many reasons you may not feel comfortable asking questions of your doctors — you don’t want to waste their time, they know more than you do, or you don’t want to give the impression you are second guessing them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your health care provider actually wants you to. It is in his or her best interest, as well as yours, that you understand what you can do to take ownership of your own health.

The first step is to prepare a list of questions and identify the three most important ones, so you won’t forget what you really want to ask. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website (www, has a section on patient involvement that provides tips and tools to help improve communication with your health care provider, including questions you may want to ask before, during and after your appointment. The following questions are suggested to get you started:

What is the test for? How many times have you done this procedure? When will I get the results? Why do I need this treatment? Are there any alternatives? What are the possible complications? Which hospital is best for my needs? How do you spell the name of that drug? Are there any side effects? Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?

After you ask the questions, make sure you understand the answers. Sometimes it is difficult to explain complex medical conditions in layman’s terms, but don’t just nod your head and give that look of understanding, when you really don’t have a clue. (That’s why I bring along my wife. She’ll ask the questions if I don’t.)

Be proactive and take responsibility for your own health. Maintaining your health is a partnership between you and your doctor. And it is critical to ask questions, because “Questions are the Answers” to your good health.

We will miss Dennis Davis, but the AARP Smart Driver class will continue with Dick Frost taking Dennis’ place as teacher. When you complete the class, you can still receive an auto insurance discount. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP members, and the next class is Jan. 9 and 20 from 8:45 a.m. until noon each day. There is still room and you can sign up by calling the Mid-Columbia Senior enter at 541-296-4788.

As several folks figured out, last week’s two missing consonants were t and l. This week, I’m giving you a break, but I won’t guarantee there aren’t any missing letters. If there are, they are not intended — just one of the mistakes I didn’t catch.

At the Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the center Jan. 20, the popular Simcoe Boys will be playing. Doors open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7. All ages are welcome — because the music is too good to keep anyone away. And donations are always appreciated.

Clint Eastwood was the actor who played Rowdy Yates in the TV western series Rawhide before finding international fame in Italy where he starred as the “Man with No Name” in three “spaghetti” westerns from 1964 through 1966 (And the winner of a Saturday breakfast in April is Sam Bilyue.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1950’s television series. What was the name of the outdoor action television show that was broadcast on television from 1955 through 1958 but first aired on radio in 1938 as The Challenge of the Yukon? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with an autographed picture of “Yukon King”.

Well, it’s been another week, watching the days get longer and the nights get shorter. Until we meet again, don’t let your fears rule your day — or go bump in the night

“Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed.” — Mason Cooley


Wednesday (14) Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday (15) Spaghetti with Meat Sauce over Noodles

Friday (16) Philly Beef Sandwich

Monday (19) Stroganoff over Noodles

Tuesday (20) BIRTHDAY DINNER Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy


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