The Golden Years and The Challenges that Come

Mothers and Fathers are precious as they, through our Creator, give us life.  When you really think about it, because of our appreciation for their contribution to our existence, there is nothing that we wouldn’t do for our parents or elderly relatives. As mothers and fathers become older, the “Golden Years”, as they are often referred to, set in embarking on the final journey of life.  There are many life altering decisions to be made during this time, and often times, the choices we make can be challenging.  Three conditions have to be addressed during the “Golden Years” which include Biological, Sociological, and Psychological.

The above three aspects of human evaluation are apart of traditional primary care medicine approach, and are most emphasized when evaluating our senior citizens.  The biological evaluation is the most basic and consistent in this approach, and for the most part is standardized. As we age, the eleven systems of the human being, began to decline and/or fail. Due to the sophistication of medical advancement in spite of declining or failing human organ systems due to age, life in many instances can be sustained.

The Quality of Life becomes most important to address through the Sociological and Psychological conditions of the elderly patient and/or love one.  In many instances, the family members of the elderly patient are met with this decision to address in this regard, and it is often a difficult decision to make.  Now, the most important point to emphasize is if the elderly patient is fully capable of appropriately determining which avenue to take in this regard, then there is NO position for the other family members. And, so with that, the topic for this discussion is to consider some form of guidance.

First and foremost, it is NOT appropriate for the health care provider to intervene and make certain choices for family members in most instances, and the health care provider is only positioned to provide information for the informed family member to make the final choice.  I would submit that the choice should be in reference to “what the elderly patient would want for his/her life if he/she were capable of making the decision,” as in a “LEGAL WILL AND TESTAMENT,” which is strongly recommended.  Financial and other social conditions and/or restraints should help in deciding the path for the elderly patient and/or love one.  Sociologically, senior citizens facilities such as assisted living and/or nursing home, may be a source to consider in select instances, or in-home care.

Psychological conditions also should be addressed.  Senile Dementia complicates the psychological issues that may arise in many instances; and, Geriatric specialists as well as mental health experts may be helpful to consult in this regard.  The level of care is often most challenging in this regard.

Family members are often faced with the decision of “End of Life for the elderly parent,” which is extremely complicated, and this too must be guided by: “Legal Will and Testament of the Elderly patient” , AND proper communication with trusted consultants.

We at MDC Atlanta remain committed to keeping our patients informed for better quality and safe medical care!