Making choices – Choosing comfort when there is no cure
As we get older it is natural to expect at least a few health problems. Aches and pains seem to go hand in hand with the aging process. The older we become the more likely we will have to endure more symptoms associated with aging. Several studies show that the fears expressed by older people are related to unrelieved pain and/or to loneliness following the death of a spouse or friends.
Are we meeting the healthcare needs of our seniors?
What do seniors want? When the natural problems that go along with ageing are combined with life-limiting diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, congestive heart failure, incurable cancers, chronic kidney failure, AIDS or oxygen dependent emphysema (in other words chronic illnesses which have no cure and which will eventually lead to a person’s death), then the result can be an increasing dependence on family or caregivers for activities of daily living. And while families want to provide the love, care and attention seniors need, still, many seniors suffer discomfort as well as loss of independence and dignity.
Neither hasten or postpone death
Researchers have found that seniors want to be comfortable, being in as little pain as possible and they want to avoid inappropriately prolonging the dying process. Seniors also want to enjoy and strengthen family relationships while maintaining their independence or sense of control without being a burden to anyone. Families and caregivers of seniors want their loved ones wishes to be honored and be included in the decision making process.
Both seniors and their families want honest information, privacy, 24/7 access, and have workers listen to their concern.