Many Factors Influence the Medical Decisions of Cognitively Impaired Elderly

As we mentioned in an earlier post, your aging parent should have a designated family member who is responsible for helping make important financial and medical decisions in case your parent is unable to so.

Today’s post will focus on medical decision-making, and what to do regarding end-of-life preferences in case your loved one becomes cognitively impaired.

As reported in Medical News Today, surrogates who make important medical decisions for an impaired loved one often over-complicate the process, as they are prone to relying on their own personal needs and preferences.

A study by the Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University Center for Aging Research, and the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics of Indiana University Health found that the following factors influence a surrogate’s decision-making:

  • Respecting the patient’s input.
  • The patient’s wishes prior to their impairment.
  • Taking the patient’s best interests into consideration.
  • Using their own wishes as a guide.
  • Their personal religious and spiritual beliefs.
  • Their own interests.
  • Family consensus.

As America’s elderly population continues to grow, life-sustaining medical technology will becomes available to an increasing number of people with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other chronic conditions. And yes–it will be a stressful and emotional time when ailments from Mom’s dementia land her in the hospital.

While it may be next to impossible for you, as a surrogate, to completely remove any personal feelings when making medical decisions that can directly affect the lifespan of your parent, you’ll find that the job will be at least a little bit easier if you and your loved one have planned in advance for such a time.

If your parents are still in good health, now is the perfect time to ask about their end-of-life preferences. You might even want to consider your own while you’re at it. And as always, if you need any help figuring out your parents’ end-of-life preferences, feel free to contact us here at Encompass Omaha Senior Solutions.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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