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Taking the senior in your life to a doctor’s appointment? Here’s your to-do list.

In a previous article, we talked about ways to make local travel easier for the senior in your life. Sometimes, local travel means going to the doctor’s office. If you care for a senior who needs you to take them to see a doctor, you’ll need to be prepared. The general rules of planning a trip will probably still apply, but visiting the doctor requires some additional considerations. Here’s your to-do list.

Start the conversation – A few weeks before the appointment, when the senior in your care is relaxed and preferably talkative, ask how they have been feeling. Is there anything new bothering them? Do they have any questions? Listen closely and jot down notes in a health journal or notebook. Then list all medication and doses and how long they have been taking it. Document the day and time of the conversation.

Continue the conversation – Two weeks before the appointment, have the same conversation you held in the weeks prior. Ask as many questions as you need to, but be sure to repeat the original questions you asked, too. One week before the appointment, repeat the process. Do the same one day before the appointment and the day of the appointment. Each time you do this, document the day and time of the conversation, as well as medication information. By the time you’re ready to meet the doctor, you will have four entries with useful data that could end up playing a critical role in your senior’s medical treatment.

Keep “things” simple – If you’ve ever had to fumble through a large handbag full of cosmetics, medication, pieces of paper, stale chewing gum and free-roaming pennies, you know how frustrating it can be to find what you need, especially if you’re on the spot. Don’t let this happen to the senior in your care. Pack your senior a purse, wallet or bag with only the necessities, such as ID, insurance card, credit card, pen and the health notebook. Make these items easily identifiable and accessible. Everything else can stay in a different bag.

Let your senior lead – Often the most difficult part of having a caregiver is that it brings on feelings of dependence and vulnerability. Couple this with the natural anxiety many of us feel at the doctor’s office and you can understand why it’s so important to let the senior in your care do as much as they can for themselves. If possible, let your senior enter the office first. Have them sign in for themselves. Since a bag or wallet has been packed in a friendly way, it should be easier for your senior to take out their health insurance card and ID and hand it to the receptionist. Have them choose the seats in the waiting room. All of this will help empower your senior.

Be the interpreter – Medical terminology can sound like a foreign language. Watch your senior’s facial expressions and body language when the doctor is speaking. If your senior appears confused, zoned out, anxious or agitated, ask the doctor to slow down and explain. Repeat back what the doctor says and ask your senior if they understand. Encourage them to ask questions about diagnosis, prognosis and treatment, and discuss the information in the health notebook. Help your senior find words if they are struggling to remember them. Throughout all this, take notes so you can remind your senior (and yourself) of the conversation later.

Decompress – Depending on the reason for and duration of the appointment, your senior could feel exhausted after. They might also be experiencing other emotions, such as sadness, anxiety or anger. Once you leave the appointment, it’s important to let the senior in your care talk. Be sure to recap what happened and touch on the next steps. However, it’s important to then move on to a topic and/or activity that is less stressful. Think of something both of you find relaxing and enjoy doing it together.  

As with anything else in caregiving, don’t try to go it alone. Seek the support you need to better care for the senior who needs you. Your senior and you will both be happier – and healthier – because of it.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, serving Prince William and Fauquier counties.


Tip off the police with this new app

From the Manassas City Police Department press release:

Manassas, VA…The Manassas City/Manassas Park Crime Solvers Inc. is proud to announce they have recently partnered with Anderson Software, to provide a more seamless and efficient way for community members to offer information to help solve and prevent crimes or other serious or life threatening matters. Anderson Software leads the industry with its latest secure and anonymous tip acquisition and management solution, called P3 Intel. This partnership allows community members from the greater Manassas area to foster a relationship between law enforcement and the public to proactively create a safer community.

The Manassas City/Manassas Park Crime Solvers Inc. will now be accepting tips by phone, the web, and by way of the new, free P3 Tips mobile app available on the iOS and Android platforms, greatly enhancing the mobile tip submission process. Still completely anonymous, tips submitted through the P3 mobile app, unlike SMS text tips, have no length limitations and allow images, video, and documents to be uploaded with the tip. Anderson Software’s sophisticated encryption processes obscure any and all identifying information and provide assured anonymity for tipsters.

Even without the app, there is still an easy and secure option for submitting tips from any PC or mobile browser by going to Of course, tips are still welcomed through calling our hotline at 703-330-0330. Using whichever method, once a person submits a tip, they will be given a TIP ID and password. With this information they can login at and submit follow-up information, engage in real-time chat/two-way dialogue, be informed of the outcome of the tip, and access any pertinent reward information.

Manassas City/Manassas Park Crime Solvers Inc. feels that utilizing Anderson Software’s P3 Tips program will enhance communications with the public, thereby building a safer and more trusting community in which everyone prospers. To further show our value of tipsters’ contribution to the community, tips leading to an arrest will result in a cash reward up to $1,000. For more information on the program contact Officer C.D. Sharp at or 703-257-8110.  

More than a year later, still no posted toll lanes travel times

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Rustic weddings, corporate events and maybe some live music in an intimate setting — Possibly the best barn find ever…literally

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One in 23 men and women will develop Colon Cancer in their lifetime

Did you know that colon and rectal cancer, the second most common cancer in Americans, can be prevented?

All Americans over the age of 50 and all African Americans over the age of 45 should have a regular colonoscopy, the one test that can prevent colon and rectal cancer.  A colonoscopy is a fiberoptic examination of the colon and rectum, and it can save your life.

The grand majority of cases of colon and rectal cancer start with a polyp, a precancerous growth in the lining of the colon.  By undergoing a colonoscopy, these precancerous polyps can be removed, taking the risk of colon and rectal cancer away.

Best part, the colonoscopy is easy.  It is done under sedation, so you sleep through the whole exam.  No pain is involved.  Take the bowel prep, have the sedation, have the exam, save your life.  It’s that easy.

If we all have regular colonoscopies every ten years (more often if your colon likes to grow polyps), we can prevent colon cancer in almost everyone.

Don’t wait for symptoms.  Colon and rectal polyps and cancer do not show up with symptoms until it is often too late.

If you have any questions, please ask your doctor, or contact the Sentara Surgery Specialists at 703-523-9750.

Instagram or instant scam?

From the Manassas City police press release:

On March 10, 2018, an officer of the Manassas City Police Department met with a complainant for a report of a fraud. The victim was contacted by a subject on Instagram offering her $500 in exchange for use of her Instagram account for a promotional advertisement. To collect payment, the victim was asked to provide her bank account information. The victim was later notified by her bank three fraudulent checks were deposited into her account.

Children, don’t try this at Home: shoplifting turns to grand larceny charge

Form the Manassas City police report:

On March 9, 2018 at approximately 6:26 p.m., an officer of the Manassas City Police Department responded to 8805 Liberia Ave (Home Depot) for a report of a shoplifting. A loss prevention associate told police a white male had stolen several power tools from the business. Through investigation the suspect was later identified and taken into custody.  

Arrested: KENNEDY, John William a 24-year-old resident of Dumfries.

    Charge: Grand Larceny