No one likes to feel like they have no control over what happens to them. It can bring about feelings of helplessness and despair. People want to feel like they at least have a say in decisions that affect their lives. It is no different for seniors. If you are in a caregiver role for a loved one, try to include them in as many decisions as possible.
In some cases, cognitive abilities may have diminished past the point of critical thought, but even presenting some small choices to your loved one can preserve feelings of independence and self-worth. Dealing with decreases in the ability to process relevant information and reduction of mobility can be very challenging things to deal with. Difficulty with recall and short term memory is also very common. But, even with these conditions presenting themselves with more regularity and severity, your loved one still wants to feel like they are included in decisions that involve them directly. How can you achieve this?
One option is to create an organized list presenting their options in a clear and concise manner. Doing this on a regular basis will help bring some familiarity to the decision making process. Your loved one will begin to associate the list with choices they have to make. They will recognize the pattern, which will help increase understanding of what is happening and add clarity to the procedure. You can have them rank the choices in order, from the option they like best to the one they are least fond of.
Decline in Decision Making Skills
Studies have shown that the ability to make informed, rationalized decisions decreases with age. These studies have also shown that cognitive deterioration and dementia are not necessarily the culprits. Even seniors with no existence of dementia and normal cognitive function were prone to making irrational and inconsistent decisions. This illustrates that seniors likely have a different decision making process based on life experience and future outlook. You will need to be patient and guide them through the process.
For larger, more impactful decisions it can be beneficial to make them together. Make sure you understand your loved one’s value, goals, and wishes for the future. This can help make an informed decision that is best for everyone involved. You might want to make group decisions about:
- Level of care needed
- Dietary restrictions
- Alcohol consumption
- Exercise programs
- Social activities
Involving your loved one in these important life decisions, can really help improve their overall health and self-esteem. Having open communication can bring forth new ideas that may not have otherwise been considered.
Our caregivers at Retire-At-Home Toronto are here to help with the tough decisions and provide professional care in whatever capacity is needed for your loved one.