Tips to Help You Keep Track of Your Family’s Health Appointments

Life can get busy. Between all the little things you need to remember in your demanding job, and the ever-changing schedules of the kids’ after-school events, it’s easy for some medical appointments to fall through the cracks. While a healthy lifestyle can only do so much, preventive care can help stop health problems from escalating into major issues. With such high stakes, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways to help you make caring for your family’s health more routine.

1. Stay on top of things with a list.

Understandably, it can be hard to keep track of all the doctors and specialists the family needs to see in any given year. You may even conveniently forget some, either out of fear of what the doctor will find or concerns about costs. But, as the old saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine. Being on top of all your family health care needs can literally be lifesaving. Preventive care can also save money in the long run.

Take charge of your family’s health and create a list of all the appointments you anticipate needing throughout the next school year. Does your medical practitioner have a website? Great! Schedule your visit online. Dr. Jeffrey C. Jaynes’ website has a pretty nifty button on the home page that lets you request an appointment in a matter of minutes.

2. Have a checklist of information you need to bring.

It’s human to forget. But your family’s health depends on your ability to recall even the most minuscule detail. So, as Garrett Bartley puts it, how can you “never forget what you need to remember”? With a checklist, of course. Each medical visit has its own set of requirements for different patients depending on their age and sex.

For instance, on your child’s next dental visit to see Dr. Jeff, it’s very easy to forget to bring their medical information, especially when it’s their first appointment. However, several studies have linked overall health to oral health. Adding “bring medical information” to your dental visit checklist can help ensure you get health care tailored to your medical history—the same thing applies to all your other appointments. Many medical practitioners have websites where you can check requirements, a number you can call to ask questions, and other helpful resources in the form of a FAQ section or a blog.

3. Get a digital family calendar and sync up.

When you make healthcare appointments for you, your spouse, or the kids, do you set an alert on your phone, type it on your laptop at work, or email the date to yourself so you can later pencil it in on the family wall calendar? If you’re nodding along, you’ve probably wondered whether there’s a way to skip the hassle of writing down the same thing every single year. Well, there is. It involves creating a digital calendar that syncs up to everyone’s devices. Google Calendar is a great free tool you can use. Visit the Google Families page and click “Get Started” to, ahem, get started.

Besides syncing and updating events in real-time, the color-coding system eliminates the need to write each family member’s name. Instead of Anna’s Ballet Recital, you can type “Ballet Recital” and give it the color pink, which you’ve already assigned as family member Anna’s color. It may not seem like much now, but when everyone gets an alert of an upcoming appointment, your kids will pay more attention when they see their particular color flashing next to the date.

4. Create a healthy lifestyle.

Help your kids develop a healthy lifestyle when they’re young and they’ll most likely live by the same principles when they leave the nest. Add physical activities into normal family routines. Walk the dog as a family, play tag every other lazy Sunday afternoon, or even add a dancing game to family game night. Every family is different and you’re the most qualified person to know what gets the blood pumping, hearts racing, and grins flashing.

Exercise is only as effective as the quality (and quantity) of food we consume. Admittedly, parents may hand the keys to the kitchen to fast-food restaurants and packaged ready-to-eat manufactures at times, but it’s never too late to take back control. Start by cooking one healthy meal a week and insist that the family come together to share it. Replace salty processed snacks with healthier options such as yogurt, nuts, and dried fruits. Don’t despair if the kids don’t finish every last bite of your crispy smashed brussels sprouts. Pick your battles—a single bite is still a step in the right direction.

5. Take care of yourself too.

Remember that word you said when you banged your head against the front door that one time. How you had to remind the kids several times never to say that word again. Well, here’s one occasion where children’s tendency to imitate can work in your favor. Want your kids to eat healthily and increase physical activity? Start living by example.

Let them see you sipping kale juice after your yoga session. Limit the time you spend behind a screen (TV, phone, etc.) to two hours a day. And when you’re working from home, add short breaks where you simultaneously check up on the kids and get more active. This may not happen overnight, but through determination and persistence, you can learn to take better care of yourself—for your sake, and for your kids too.

We hope the 5 tips on this list help make caring for your family’s health more routine. If you’d like to tick off ‘dental checkup’ from your list, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr Jeffrey C. Jaynes, DDS, PA, or call us if you have any questions regarding your visit or oral health care routine.