Talking With Your Doctor

Prior to engaging with physical activities during your retirement, it is highly recommended that you consult with a doctor.  But with so many out there, and you may be new to the area, how do you choose the right one for you.  Many people take the doctor “on duty” but did you know that you have the right to talk to the staff of physicians prior to the appointment.  Some hospitals and medical facilities, especially those around popular retirement destinations, have ‘meet the Doctors’ events.  It is not just meeting them, but asking the right questions to determine if he or she is the right resource for you.  Let’s discuss some of the ways to determine the best doctor for you.  Here are questions of importance to guide you in this process.

Basics Questions

  • Is the doctor taking new patients?
  • Is the doctor covered by my insurance plan?
  • Does the doctor accept Medicare?

Qualifications and Characteristics

  • Is the doctor board certified? In what field?
  • Is the age, sex, race, or religion of the doctor important?
  • Will language be an obstacle to communication? Is there someone in the office who speaks my language?
  • Do I prefer a group practice or an individual doctor?
  • Does it matter which hospital the doctor admits patients to?


  • Is the location of the doctor’s office important? How far am I willing to travel to see the doctor?
  • Is there parking? What does it cost? Is the office on a bus or subway line?
  • Does the building have an elevator? What about ramps for a wheelchair or walker?

Office Policies

  • What days/hours does the doctor see patients?
  • Are there times set aside for the doctor to take phone calls? Does the doctor accept emailed questions? Is there a charge for this service?
  • Does the doctor ever make house calls?
  • How far in advance do I have to make appointments?
  • What’s the process for urgent care? How do I reach the doctor in an emergency?
  • Who takes care of patients after hours or when the doctor is away?

Again, the focus on your Health, Fitness and well being based on your conditions will play a major role in what activities you can and cannot do during retirement. This will be determined by you and your doctor.

Interviewing doctors with the most important thing in your life, YOU, can be stressful and sometimes under performed for the benefit your looking for with your retirement goals.  Begin by asking others in the neighborhood or community, and build the list of questions so that you will feel confident in your doctor and the resource they have to offer for you.  This is frequently under-performed by many retirees, but again in the big picture, it is one of the most crucial research performances you can do for your and your family.

Source: National Institue of Health

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