Some elderly patients merely start to appear more reclusive. Others begin making charges against people, alleging that something has been taken or relocated, or even someone acting suspiciously. Many adult children have growing concerns as a result of these changes. What's the issue? What is going on? Is Mom's continued driving safe? How long should Dad be alone? This is what I refer to as the "oh no!" phase. Everyone dreads the shift of maybe having to start providing care for an older patient, and most people haven't made any preparations for it. Additionally, it is a barrier for many because most elderly patients don't want their adult offspring to assist them very much. They might interpret it as interfering with their privacy or both.
Despite symptoms that seem blatantly obvious—and concerning—to you, some patients may even refuse to acknowledge that they are having problems. It's possible that you're correct and your patient does require assistance by the time you start to notice changes and worry about their safety. So how can you participate effectively, especially if your previous efforts have not been successful? It's definitely not simple, though. In addition to being challenging from a medical and eldercare standpoint, these circumstances frequently trigger distressing feelings in both older patients and adult children.
But I do think it's important for families to participate. It probably won't be simple. But if you can discover the best methods to do it—as well as what to stop doing—it might be simpler. The best approach to learn this is to work closely with professional experts who have been educated to help senior citizens.
Here Is a Breakdown of the Process Phases;
- Discover the facts & details: Figuring out if your elderly patient requires assistance
- Obtain the patient's viewpoint: How to discover their priorities and frames of reference
- Learn about the best assessment and intervention in eldercare
- Put everything together: Make an action plan for the following phases that is unique to your family's circumstances and the patient's preferences
- Put your action plan into action: Be willing to strive & persevere;
- Discover the Facts & Details: Figuring out If Your Elderly Patient Requires Assistance;
You may believe that you understand what is happening, but it's astonishing how often our initial assumptions are incorrect or insufficient. It is crucial that you attempt to obtain facts that will enable you to verify if your concerns are valid before taking any further action. I advise doing the following specific things:
- Symptoms of difficulties with daily tasks and safety.
- What the patient's close friends and other family members are observing.
- Any "bright red lights" that suggest you should probably intervene right away.
- Obtain the Patient's Viewpoint: How to Discover Their Priorities and Frames Of Reference;
Even if you've already attempted to communicate with your patient(s), it’s likely that you haven't yet employed the most efficient techniques. In order to help a declining elderly person comprehend or accept that there are issues and that certain actions need to be taken to keep them safe and healthy, families frequently speak with them.
This is understandable and well-intended. Unfortunately, it frequently backfires and sparks arguments and frustration. Consequently, you should approach these speeches differently. This entails "talking" while also listening to your patient and making them feel heard.
- Learn About the Best Assessment and Intervention in Eldercare;
The "ideal" result doesn't always happen, let's face it. Even said, knowing what experts suggest should happen is quite beneficial because it demonstrates where to concentrate your best efforts in a situation where you have complete control. You might save time and hassle in the future if you do that. It's crucial to get a medical evaluation. This is due to the fact that the majority of grave "life" problems that families see in older patients are actually caused by or exacerbated by a serious medical condition. For instance, to determine what might be causing the symptoms we are concerned about Medicines may cause issues. They are regularly. What is the plan of action moving forward and what happens next?
When determining housing and care needs and developing a strategy to address them, working with properly qualified health and social workers can be quite beneficial. These experts frequently provide suggestions for dealing with typical safety issues, such as difficulty driving or money management issues. Last but not least, making a few lifestyle adjustments can help an elderly patient maintain the greatest possible physical health and, if necessary, slow any cognitive impairment.
- Put Everything Together: Make an Action Plan for the Following Phases That Is Unique To Your Family's Circumstances and the Patient's Preferences;
It's time to bring everything together and start acting now that you've established the crucial foundation of observing, listening, and learning. There is obviously no one "correct" method to assist an aging patient; what you do will depend on your patient's situation, what is important to them, what is practical, and more.
Below is the proven A-B-C formula that can be used to construct a plan that is effective for you;
First, you should go over your assessment of the current state of affairs, including your patient's cognitive abilities, any safety issues you've noticed, any daily chores they are having trouble with, any other important difficulties, and your patient's or family's top priority. Review how much of the desired next steps have already been implemented.
Next, you'll consider your options for moving forward. You should think about things like;
- What appears most pressing or crucial to address?
- What sounds most plausible?
Choose & Plan;
Pick one to three concerns to concentrate on based on what you've brainstormed. (It is ideal to accomplish this collectively and in coordination if you have siblings or other active family members.) Make a list of precise next steps for each concern. These could consist of the following;
- Something to look into: a medical issue, a legal issue, a service, an organization, specialists, etc.
- Make a call, schedule an appointment, visit a facility, review the medication, hire a person, etc.
- A discussion to have with your patient or occasionally another person, such as a consultant, the doctor, a third party who isn't biased, a sibling, your other patient, etc.
- Put Your Action Plan into Action: Be Willing To Strive & Persevere;
You're now prepared to intervene and make an effort to "do something" to assist your elderly patient. Give it your best effort while taking the predetermined following actions. Use your best communication abilities, and if necessary, take capacity issues into account. They frequently are. Many families run into trouble when they overlook the value of capacity and effective communication.
Depending on how things go, you'll probably reevaluate, modify your strategy, and attempt again. I like to advise folks to "experiment" because families nearly seldom experience the change they desire right immediately. In fact, a lot of back-and-forth is typical during this phase as you try to overcome obstacles or choose the best course of action to pursue with your patient (or with someone else who is involved, such a different family member or your patient's doctors).
Whatever Unfolds, Always Think Of It As An Improvement!
The chances of getting your patient more of what they need for their care and safety—and getting them to come to a greater acceptance of the changes—are quite good if you stick to the stages mentioned above and don't give up. Now, it is undoubtedly possible to follow all the "correct" steps and yet feel trapped. That is not uncommon. If you've tried to help several times but believe your efforts are failing, there are really more possibilities for you to think about.
Considerations like "watchful waiting" or even looking into last-resort options like filing for guardianship may be acceptable. (These are outside the purview of this essay; a separate chapter on these scenarios is included in my forthcoming book.) You'll probably feel like something has changed since your early "uh-oh" moments, even if things stabilize. And so it is. Your family is now in a different phase of life. The "new normal" may come to feel familiar (though rarely exactly the same as before), giving you some breathing room. Or you can spend a lot of time in "help mode" that is engaged. That happens frequently.
Simply by addressing your elderly patient utilizing this deliberate and compassionate procedure, you will be making a necessary difference. This is regardless of how this ongoing journey through this stage of life is for you and your patient. This is so that you can be there for your patient when they most need you to be there for them at this period of change. You probably won't be able to attain all the safer outcomes you want for kids, and you won't be able to manage everything. But it really is okay. You're showing up to provide a hand, you're learning how to do it better, and you'll be doing your best to support them as they age. And that will really benefit your elderly patient.