QUESTION:  Lately it seems that my doctor and I aren’t communicating too well.  Is there something I can do to help improve this situation?

 ANSWER:  Yes, there are some things you can do to help the doctor-patient relationship.  Communication is a two-way street, speaking and listening, and both parties have a responsibility to make sure understanding takes place.

 For years doctors have been given all the blame for not listening and for responding in medical terms not understood by the patient.  However, the patient also must take more blame for not providing clear explanations and failing to really listen to what the doctor says.

  To receive a correct diagnosis it is crucial that your doctor receive detailed, not vague, descriptions of your symptoms.  The doctor needs the whole picture.

  To make sure you don’t forget to provide specific information make a list of your concerns and take it with you to your appointment.  Make sure you listen carefully and speak up if you don’t understand.  Don’t be afraid about interrupting to have a point re-explained.

  Take notes so you can review them when you get home or better yet have someone accompany you to the doctor’s office.  Two sets of ears are often better than one.

  QUESTION:  Legal forms are so confusing to me.  Titles sound similar and yet seem to mean different things.  I thought a power of attorney was quite clear but now I have the term durable power of attorney.  Are they one and the same or is there a difference?

  ANSWER:  I agree that some terms can sound alike and yet mean very different things.  In general, a power of attorney is a written document in which a person grants authority to another to act on their behalf in financial matters.  The person receiving the authority to act is known as an agent or attorney-in-fact.  The authority given can be limited to specific areas or events or can be very broad giving unlimited authority to act.

  A durable power of attorney allows the powers granted to continue in effect should you become mentally incapacitated.  The traditional or non-durable power of attorney usually terminates when you become mentally incapacitated.

  Whichever form of power of attorney you select it must be prepared and signed while you are mentally competent.

There is also an advance directive for health care, often referred to as a durable power of attorney for health care which should not be confused with a financial power of attorney.  The advance directive for health care allows you to name an agent to speak for you concerning health care matters when you are unable to speak for yourself.


  SATURDAY – September 12 – 6:00 pm – Grandparents Day at the Movies – enjoy an intergenerational movie featuring “UP.”  Introduce your grandchildren to an old fashion drive-in movies experience.  Tickets are $5.00 per car/table that sits four.  Tickets are available at Goebel Adult Community Center’s front desk.  Goebel is located at 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.

  TUESDAY – September 15 – 5:30 to 7:00 pm – Seminar – “Living with Alzheimer’s Mid Stages” – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks.  For information and reservations call (805) 497-0189.

  WEDNESDAY – September 16 – 5:00 to 7:00 pm – “70’s Party & Classic Car Show” to benefit foster kids – at Cypress Place Senior Living, 1200 Cypress Point Lane in Ventura.  Enjoy the evening, it will be a blast from the past, while helping the foster kids in our county.  A new or used suitcase or a $10 donation is the price of admission. For information or reservations call (805) 650-8000.

  WEDNESDAY – September 16 – 1:30 to 3:00 pm – Seminar – “Do You Understand Your Insurance Forms?” – at Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive in Westlake Village.  Bring your insurance forms with you.  For information call the Advocate’s office at (805) 495-6250.

  WEDNESDAY – September 23 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm – Seminar – Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association – free Diabetes Class – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.  No reservations needed.

  TUESDAY – September 29 – 5:30 to 7:00 pm – Seminar – Empowered Caregiver Series – “What Matters Most in End of Life Planning” – Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks.  For reservations call (805) 497-0189.

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