Conditions of Aging: Receiving Care

Apr 26th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Taking Care was the first installment of this series, demonstrating how taking care enables us to have fruitful, productive and more pleasant years of aging.  Needing Care, the second in the series, was designed to address those issues that require attention and thought when inevitable decisions are required because of a decline in health, mobility and perhaps cognition.  This is the time when decisions can still be made with your full participation. 

We move now to Receiving Care, that time when, while some abilities still remain, others require assistance and competence in relying on others, knowing when to do so, and demonstrating grace in receiving that care.

The outcome of this phase is dependent upon a whole variety of issues which face the individual and the family involved.  This phase assumes that the discussions and deliberations previously held have led to decisions and choices which are amenable to those involved.

If the elder does not agree, resonate with or find any willingness to cooperate, it is likely a useless and unworkable approach.  For example, if the discussion has revolved around the patient going into a care facility and he/she has resisted the plan , then it is likely that it will produce great anxiety and a fruitless outcome.  Intuition is expressly important here.  Read the signs.  Detect the attitudes.  If there is considerable resistance, then it is likely this approach should be dumped, unless there is in reality no other option.

Decision making about a facility, of any kind, depending on the condition of the patient, needs to fully include the participation of the patient(s).  Making a choice or decision and imposing it will likely backfire. 

Let’s, however, assume that the decision has been made comfortably and unanimously.  In this case, approaching the issue with positive and ready determination will be much easier.  Working out the particulars of space, accommodations, activity, meals, meeting and greeting others in the facility, becoming comfortable with the staff, experiencing the environment as a neat, clean and comfortable place,  being aware of support services, and other such matters will be subjects and issues allowing full ownership of the choice. 

Remembering that one’s own behavior will contribute to the satisfaction of such an experience and will allow for all involved (senior, family, staff) to sense that a satisfactory environment has been identified and achieved. 

This does not mean that there may be occasion when concerns, even complaints, won’t be appropriate and should be received, particularly by staff.  Ignoring concerns, avoiding dealing with them may only exacerbate the situation and eventually lead to more dissatisfaction.  Discounting complaints, just becasue these are older people does not bode well of the institution.  Addressing, giving assurances that the concerns have been/will be resolved speaks of the professionalism of the institution.  It also suggests that the community reputation will likely be positive and well received. 

Generating a mutual atmosphere of respect within an institution on the part of the patients and sensitive caring for the patient will work for everyone.  Receiving care is a 24/7 dynamic required of both the staff and the patient.  Being prompt and enabling the patient to be comfortable is the assignment of the staff.  Being respectful and understanding is the assignment of the patient.  Receiving Care will work better for all involved when these considerations are mutually met.



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