Healthy Aging - Getting the Medical Care You Need
Get organized. Feeling organized and in control of your health
care can be a challenge, especially when something comes up unexpectedly. Your
best approach to managing your health care is to get organized now-create a personal
medical information file, including an ongoing record of your:
- Health professionals' names and
- Medicines, herbal supplements, and vitamins. For each,
include the dosage, who prescribed it and why, and any side effects you have
had. Use this form.(What is a PDF document?)
- Any known allergies to medicines, foods, or insects (include
the type of allergic reaction).
- Symptoms, health conditions, and treatments. For each, jot
down dates and any details that you might easily forget. Use this form.(What is a PDF document?)
- Exam and
- Emergency medical information, such as pacemaker use
or chronic disease diagnosis.
- Insurance policy and payment receipts.
For more information on how to organize your medical
information, see the topic
Home Medical Records.
Advance directives such as a living will and a medical
power of attorney can ensure that you will get the care you want if you become
physically or mentally unable to make your own medical decisions. A living will
states your wishes about your medical care; a medical power of attorney gives a
person you choose (your health care agent) the authority to make medical
decisions for you if you become unable to make these decisions for yourself. In
addition to putting your advance directives in writing, also be sure to clearly
communicate your choices to all family members who might be involved in your
health care in the future. For information about writing advance directives or
selecting a health care agent, see the topics
Writing an Advance Directive and
Choosing a Health Care Agent.