As people grow older, there are any number of things about which they grow wary. Sometimes that fear includes refusal to participate in regular health checkups – or even seek medical help when needs are more urgent. This allows the elder to avoid bad news about conditions that arise as we grow older. Annual physicals and diagnostic tests can be the source of bad news. Not participating avoids the issue.
Quite naturally, this creates great anxiety for caregivers even as the avoidance of checkups is understandable. It is the caregivers job to ensure the wellbeing of care recipients, but to do so requires a clear picture of the senior’s physical and mental health.
The Issue of Individual Rights
In fact, unless an individual is creating a danger to the community, anyone of sound mind with the ability of making informed decisions can manage their own health as they choose. Family members cannot impose their will on their senior charges even if doing so would improve their well-being. As much as it creates anxiety among caregivers, seniors who are of sound mind are allowed to make bad decisions.
Assuming the decision to seek medical care is made, the question arises as to whether the doctor that has been seen in younger years is appropriate for this stage of life. Resistance can raise its head again in this decision. A senior set in his or her ways may find it unsettling to see an unfamiliar physician. It is usually best to see a physician with specific experience dealing with the issues that are more often associated with aging.
The choice is usually working with a geriatric doctor which is generally not the doctor the senior has dealt with historically. Still, a senior needs a physician with experience in treating older adults who has experience with their unique conditions and symptoms and knows how to communicate with an older person.
Working through the resistance and researching to find the right medical advice for the older person in your life is well worth the effort.