Grumpy Old People Deserve Consideration

When orienting newly hired home health aides, one should always stress the problems and uniqueness of the situation that they will be encountering. What they should NOT expect to find is a smiling, polite, sweet and considerate patient behind that apartment door. What they WILL find is a grumpy, complaining senior citizen. 

Grumpy Old ManBut, why? The aide has tried her best to be kind, considerate and attend to all of the patient’s needs. What they may not understand is that the assigned patient is in pain, discomfort and the aide represents an increasing and further loss of independence. It is helpful to remember that old age is a time of a series of losses and the senior citizen must adjust to each one. These losses include: loss of health; loss of loved ones; loss of status through retirement; loss of sexuality, and, in most cases, tighter budget constraints. Most important of all, they are experiencing a substantial loss of independence. 

On medicinenet.com, Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH and Charles P. Davis, MD, PhD detail various social issues that affect the life and health of seniors. They cite: loneliness from losing a spouse and friends; inability to independently manage regular activities of living; difficulty coping and accepting physical changes of aging; frustration with ongoing medical problems and increasing number of medications; social isolation as adult children are engaged in their own lives; feeling inadequate from inability to continue to work; boredom from retirement and lack of routine activities, and financial stresses from the loss of regular income. 

The elderly have the onerous task of adjusting to dramatic lifestyle changes under compromising circumstances. Given all that these seniors have to deal with, it would seem that these older people have a perfect right to be short tempered. With some understanding on the part of the rest of us, we have the ability to change the whole paradigm. Who says the elderly are “set in their ways”? They actually bear their lot with a great deal of grace and skill.

At David York Agency we are sensitive to the stresses of the elderly and are quite mindful of the losses they suffer.  We train our home health aides to be sensitive as well.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on the web www.davidyorkagency.com to learn more about what we offer.  

“Don’t Worry; I’ll Take Notes For You”

With families dispersed throughout the country and the world, a needs gap has developed.  Having someone else accompany a senior and take notes during doctors’ visits is gaining popularity as an additional way to care for the elderly.  This is especially important with children at work or living in faraway cities. These note takers are another set of ears during the meeting and can also remind the patient of any questions they had been meaning to ask.  They do the physical recording of the minutes of the meeting and can then make them available to loved ones that were unable to attend.  This service usually is in tandem with actually driving the patient to their appointment

A recent article in USA Today149088974, “Medical note takers help keep the information straight”  gives a brief overview of efforts in this area.  Up to this point, this service has been conducted by volunteers in various neighborhood organizations, but that may be changing.  Northwest Neighbors Village, an organization in Washington, D.C. which has been offering this service since 2007, is beginning a program using a grant from the city to train these note takers who have generally in the past been completely untrained.  In addition to specific concerns, the note takers will come with prepared questions and make the information available after the meeting.  These “Med-Pal” volunteers are modeled off of other US organizations.

Having a note taker is a good way to keep the patient focused and, if s/he does lose focus, is an excellent back up for patients who have to digest often complicated diagnoses and treatments.  Furthermore, the elderly who often have arthritis making writing difficult or trouble hearing.  These make retaining the information beyond the meeting time quite difficult.  The notes also enable the patient to take the time to mull over the information and enable them to consult more efficiently with those they need to. 

These are tips offered by Northwest Neighbors Village regarding keeping records of the meeting with the doctor. 

1.    Have clear goals for the appointment with the doctor.
2.    Bring lists of:
a.    Questions from the patient and concerned family members
b.    Medications taken and at what intervals
c.     Symptoms being experienced
3.    At the close of the meeting, summarize what was said with the doctor as well as the recommendations for next steps.
4.    Record the doctor’s confirmation.     
5.    Write everything down and do not leave things to anyone’s memory.

At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on our website www.davidyorkagency.com to become acquainted with all we offer. 

 

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/27/medical-note-takers/5161267/
Medical note takers help keep the information straight
Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News6:08 p.m. EST February 27, 2014