Changing interests and picking between two surgeons

Created date

November 5th, 2018
Aliza Acker, M.D. Medical Director, Brooksby Village Peabody, Mass.

Aliza Acker, M.D.

Medical Director, Brooksby Village
Peabody, Mass.

Q: My wife once loved creating wonderful meals, but now she has abruptly decided she is no longer interested in cooking. Is this normal?

A: A pervasive stereotype about older adults is that they become set in their ways. This perception is not true. In fact, people continue to change throughout their lives—developing new interests and abandoning old hobbies. So it could be that your wife would rather spend her time doing something else instead of devoting her spare time working in the kitchen. Then again, if she seems to be losing interest in other things she previously enjoyed, it could be an early sign of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, or another disease process.

To determine whether there could be an underlying cause to her change of heart about cooking, she needs a full evaluation from her doctor, especially if she seems to have other symptoms such as a lack of energy, change in appetite, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, or changes in sleeping patterns.


Q: I need to have heart surgery and I have my choice of two surgeons. How do I know who’s best?

A: Spending some time on your computer should get you some answers. You can check a surgeon’s license in your state, and you can go on the American Board of Medical Specialties website to confirm board certification in their specialty. There is also a site called, which analyzes data regarding surgical outcomes, complications, and hospitalizations that have occurred among a surgeon’s patients. You can also ask around—you may find someone who has experience with one of your candidates, or your regular doctor may have an opinion.

Finally, you should make an appointment with each of them, and go armed with a list of questions: How often have you performed this surgery? Is there a minimally invasive option and how do complications compare to an open procedure? What are the risks, benefits, and complications? After you have the answers, ask yourself: Who seemed more caring? Who answered my questions well? Do I feel comfortable with this person? Having all this information in advance should help guide you.

Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. Dr. Acker received her bachelor’s degree and medical degree from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel. She completed her residency in family practice at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. Acker is board-certified in family medicine. She joined Brooksby Village in November 2016.