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Jim Robeson

Jim Robeson CLU, ChFC

The Medicare Answer Guy

Medicare News

April 2022 Edition

My goal with this newsletter is to:

  • 1

    Keep You Informed I will be sharing current articles about the changes in Medicare.

  • 2

    Answer Your Questions I'm available to answer issues specific to you.

  • 3

    Stay Connected I want to make Medicare coverage as simple as possible.

(858) 935-9120


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The greatest compliment you pay us is the referral of your family and friends. Thank you!!!

Young man placing blanket on the shoulders of an elderly woman.

How to Talk to the Doctor about Your Elderly Parent/Spouse

A frequent problem expressed among family caregivers is that their aging loved ones aren't honest with their doctors. At home, they may gripe about intense pain, struggle to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) independently, or exhibit memory problems that lead to unfair accusations, but the moment they sit down in a doctor's office, a change occurs. Like an actor on stage, the patient becomes animated and charming and has no complaints to report to their physician. What gives?

A Caregiver's Experience with "Showtiming"

Here's one great example. A woman fell in her apartment on a weekly basis and had memory problems. She was taken advantage of by unscrupulous telemarketers and suffered from digestive issues. However, whenever her daughter took her to the doctor, all her hardships disappeared. Her "hostess personality" took over as soon as they would arrive at the office. While she may have complained of arthritis pain in the car on the drive there, the minute she had a chance to tell her doctor how terrible she felt, she became perkiness personified. Another instance, a son took his mother to the doctor because he suspected his mom was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. He sat dumbfounded as his mom charmed the socks off the doctor and seemed as quick as she had been 10 years earlier. His mother denied having any health issues, especially those associated with memory. The doctor was too busy to run additional tests on someone who appeared to be "so sharp for her age," so he signed off on some prescriptions and sent them on their way. The son felt like banging his head against the wall.

Why Do Seniors Mislead Their Physicians?

While the reasons for a senior not being honest with their doctor are often multifaceted and difficult to pinpoint, fear, denial and a phenomenon called "showtiming" are usually to blame.


One reason our elders put on such a show for medical professionals is because they are afraid. They don't want to face the reality of a bad check-up or a new diagnosis for many reasons. One of the most frightening consequences of such a diagnosis is a looming loss of independence. So, they put on their company manners, fail to mention or downplay their symptoms, and tell the doctor whatever sounds best in order to get out of there with the cleanest bill of health possible.


Fear of embarrassment is also a powerful motivator. Research has shown that people of all ages hesitate to share complete details relevant to their health with their physicians out of fear of judgment and/or embarrassment. Seniors have a great deal on the line and want to retain their dignity, so they avoid to divulging information that makes it seem as if they are physically frail or exercising poor judgment.


Denial is a natural and powerful tool for humans. In the case of our aging loved ones, when they come home from a doctor's visit without any major developments, they've dodged a bullet. Whether or not it is a conscious attempt, many seniors gather and direct all their effort into that one appointment, and it's often enough to convince a doctor or other professional who isn't privy to their daily behaviors and routines that all is well. It also doesn't help that healthcare providers are pressed for time and cut appointments increasingly short these days.

Dementia and Showtiming

Piggybacking off fear and denial, dementia can seriously complicate doctor's appointments, leaving family caregivers utterly frustrated. Seniors in the early and middle stages of dementia sometimes use all their energy and what remains of their faculties to put on a rather convincing performance that they are fully alert and lucid. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as "showtiming." The energy and concentration such an interaction requires usually leaves a dementia patient physically and mentally exhausted afterwards, sometimes for hours or even days. The reasons for showtiming can vary, but fear and denial typically play a role. A very specific type of what many perceive to be "denial" is often to blame in dementia patients: anosognosia. This neurological condition is characterized by a lack of awareness of one's own cognitive or psychological impairments. Changes in the brain render a senior with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia incapable of recognizing their lapses in memory, loss of judgment and mood swings. Dementia patients with anosognosia will vehemently deny any memory problems or instances of poor decision-making despite being presented with concrete evidence of such.

6 Tips for Talking to Your Elderly Loved One's Doctor

Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks that family caregivers can use to ensure doctors are well-informed while their loved ones' dignity remains intact. Start with the following strategies, but keep in mind that effective tactics will vary depending on a senior's personality and medical concerns.

  1. Get Proper Authorizations

    Keep in mind that few doctors will talk to you without an appointment, and you'll need the proper HIPAA authorization and a valid medical power of attorney (POA) document to have a comprehensive discussion about a loved one's condition and medical care. Have these three legal documents prepared and provide copies to all physicians involved in your parent's care.
  2. Identify Your Role as an Advocate

    Remind your loved one that you are on their side and that their safety and health are your number one priority. Try to establish trust. This isn't always possible, though, since some elders become suspicious of everyone's motives. All you can do is try.
  3. Ask to Talk to the Doctor One-on-One Beforehand

    Alert them to your loved one's impressive acting abilities and discuss any symptoms and problematic behaviors you have observed at home. This could be an in-person conversation or a telephone call.
  4. Send Documentation

    Another option for communicating with the doctor is to write and send them a letter or email ahead of the appointment noting your concerns. This way, the doctor is prepared with the facts when you see them. They can then mention these issues in a tactful way, pursue additional testing, or suggest a referral to a specialist without revealing you as the inside source of information or being misled by your loved one's version of things.
  5. Keep a Diary of Observations

    Consider attaching the notes that you've kept over a week or two to your letter that indicates the dates and times of new or worsening behaviors or health issues that concern you. Again, this will enable you to share detailed information with the doctor without blatantly contradicting or embarrassing your loved one at the appointment.
  6. Keep Your Parent Involved

    Doctors are notoriously busy, but during the visit, make sure the doctor interacts with your loved one. Some physicians will look over their notes and then speak directly to the family care-givers, since it's faster and easier to get straight answers to questions. However, you are there to support your loved one, take notes and contribute to the improvement of their care plan. You taking over the appointment will only build resentment and cause your loved one to shut down further. A senior still deserves the dignity of being treated as an adult patient and participating in their own care as much as possible, no matter how confusing or childish their behavior may sometimes be.

Personal Note

Happy April! Here are some Holidays and Special Observances that occur during this first month of Spring…

  • April 1st – April Fools Day: a day of making practical jokes and playing harmless pranks on friends and family members
  • April 2nd – World Autism Awareness Day: one of the seven official United Nations days that brings many organizations together to work against this disease all over the world
  • April 7th – World Health Day: focuses on major health issues that are of global concern that are addressed by various governments and non-governmental organizations
  • April 15th – Good Friday: a day that many Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On this day people may observe a fast and visit a church to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ… Who came to die for the sins of you and me
  • April 17th – Easter: Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… offering the hope of everlasting life to everyone!
  • April 22nd – Earth Day: a day when we all should, "try to leave the Earth a better place than it was when we first arrived."
  • April 29th – Arbor Day: "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." Albert Einstein

Our offices will be closed from April 15 through May 3rd for a much-needed vacation. If you have any questions or concerns about your Medicare health plan, please contact our office in the next week. I appreciate the opportunity to help you with your Medicare health plans. You make my business rewarding and I look forward to helping you navigate the Medicare maze in 2022.

Jim Robeson CLU, ChFC

Medicare Made Easy
10755 Scripps Poway Pkwy #617
San Diego, CA 92131| (858) 935-9120

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