In this weeks post I thought I might broaden the scope a little and talk about the 10 most common health care mistakes made by seniors. As you can imagine, with over 15 years of experience in senior care management I’ve come across some amazing family situations involving older loved ones and although you might think the solutions were obvious that wasn’t always the case. So let’s begin. In no particular order of importance, here are the Top 10 Healthcare Mistakes made by Seniors…
1. Driving when it’s no longer safe. Just because 92 year old dad with short term memory issues can drive to the store and back without getting lost doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
2. Failure to have a medication management plan. It’s a great way to have them end up in the hospital.
3. Not having a Primary Care Physician to review everything. Someone should know everything especially when multiple Dr’s are involved.
4. Not seeking medical attention when early warning signs occur. This is good advice for everyone.
5. Failure to participate in prevention programs. Once again the Primary physician can and will help here.
6. Fighting the aging process. 60 may be the new 40 but 80 isn’t the new 60.
7. Reluctance to discuss intimate health problems with the Doctor. Pain, bleeding from places you never want to be bleeding from are obvious signs that need to be addressed.
8. Not understanding what their doctor told them about their medical problem or treatment plan. The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
9. Disregarding the serious potential and consequences of a fall. One of the top reasons you and your loved ones find yourself in a sudden crisis.
10. Not asking loved ones for help. Be supportive and don’t over react. Do you really want them in harms way because they’re afraid of how you’ll react to a potential problem? That’s not being part of the solution.
Given more time and more space I could probably come up with another 10 or so. What’s important for you to remember is that often your loved ones doctor needs to be educated by you. They aren’t going to know how well your loved one is eating or if they have been up half the night going to the bathroom every hour or just pacing most of the night. How are they ambulating? Have they suddenly become weak, shaky and a fall risk? Are they taking their medications? Remember, even doctors can help with therapeutic fibbing by assuring your loved one that the medication is a healthy vitamin and not bring up the fact that it’s really an appetite stimulant or anti-depressant. How many times have I or you heard, “why am I taking these pills? I’m not sick.”
Finally, please don’t overestimate what your loved one can do. I was watching a story that was part of an HBO Alzheimer’s documentary about a woman that was about to lose her right to drive. Before the driving exam, all she said was “you’re taking away my independence.” After failing the driving test in a miserable fashion, including putting other lives in danger, when they told her she didn’t pass, again all she said was..”your taking away my independence.” It never occurred to her that she had just put her life and the lives of others in jeopardy.
If you have any questions please email me at email@example.com and I’ll answer them directly or in a future article. And remember, Join the Journey.