A Caregiver’s Guide: Assisting Seniors With Treatment Decision-Making

Seniors often have a difficult time adjusting to the reality of aging. As a caregiver, you are responsible for filling in the gaps and protecting your loved one’s interests. You are certainly energized and ready for the task. Yet, you find yourself grappling with increasing challenges in a daily battle for normalcy. The roles have been reversed; you are now an adviser, mentor, and personal care aide to someone who used to make all the decisions. With this in mind, we would like to share our best tips for assisting seniors with treatment decision-making.

Caring mid adult woman talks with her mom's home healthcare nurse. The daughter has her arm around her mom. The senior woman is shaking the nurse's hand.

The Importance Of Research

Empower yourself by learning the facts about your loved one’s diagnosis. Both PubMed and the Mayo Clinic offer extensive information about a multitude of conditions. Research the pertinent disease, treatment options, and prognosis. You need not be an expert about all three. However, knowing important facts will help you guide your loved one towards more informed decisions.

Assisting Patients With Treatment Decision-Making: Looking At All The Options

Hospitals and doctors often rely on first-line treatments or recommended treatment regimes for diseases. Be sure to research all first-line treatment options individually. For example, how will each option affect the body and the immune system? Is curative or palliative treatment preferable for a particular diagnosis? What about medications?

When it comes to the latter, understand that many medications list seemingly alarming side effects. Do not panic. Look up the statistics for patients who experienced particular symptoms. Keep in mind that most medications have been approved after extensive clinical trial testing. So, if your doctor has recommended a medication, there is a good chance that it will be safe.

In any case, print out a list of side effects that you can easily reference at a moment’s notice. Use the list as a guideline to determine if the medication is working or hindering your loved one’s progress.

Why Patient History Matters

It is absolutely essential that you familiarize yourself with your loved one’s medical history. Pay particular attention to allergies, especially those that cause reactions like Stevens-Johnson syndrome or anaphylaxis. They can be fatal. Bring a list of noted allergies with you, especially if you are accompanying your loved one to the doctor for the first time. It is especially important to keep the doctor updated about the emergence of new allergies.

Records And The Role Of Decision Aids

Keep careful records of symptoms and new developments. Shared decision-making is a process: be patient and listen to any opinions your loved one shares. Here, decision aids such as whitepapers, DVDs, and videos may be invaluable in facilitating communication. They can help you and your loved one be active partners in the healing process.

David York Agency Understands The Challenges Of Assisting Seniors With Treatment Decision-Making

For more about treatment decision-making, be sure to explore David York Agency’s blog.

If you need more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 877.216.7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

We’d also like to point out that you can get answers to your immediate concerns by contacting us today.