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Empowering Seniors to Make Informed Healthcare Decisions

Happy thoughtful older 70s man looking out of window away with hope, thinking of good health, retirement, insurance benefits, dreaming of future. Elderly pensioner waiting meeting with family

In the 21st century, people are being more proactive regarding their own healthcare than ever before. Whereas they used to follow doctor's orders implicitly, they have become active participants in their own care. After all, they know how and what they feel, and the doctor doesn't. Astute doctors listen to their patients rather than "playing God," and they can care for them better that way.

How Seniors Can Make Informed Healthcare Decisions

First, never be afraid to ask questions. It's not an insult to your doctor to do so. The idea isn't to question medical authority. Rather, it's to ensure that you understand that which you are being told. That way, you can implement the doctor's instructions much more successfully than if you didn't understand the treatment plan.

You can also attend classes that cover your particular condition, the treatment options available for it, and any ongoing research about new options regarding treatment. By learning a bit about the process yourself, you can contribute to your own medical decision making. In the same vein, you can contact what's known as a "patient navigator." These are people who are trained to help you go through the process of dealing with your specific condition and any side effects or other fallout regarding your selected treatments.

The Importance of Elderly Folks Making Their Own Decisions

As you age, the best thing you can do is to prepare for the future no matter how long you think that will be. The first thing to do is to set up a method of keeping track of all your medical information in one place. You should do this both digitally and in the form of a hard copy.

Include all conditions that you have, all medications that you both take and have taken in the past, the dosages of those medications, any immunizations that you've received in your life, hospitalization history, and if you live in a country without national healthcare, your private health insurance information. In fact, it's a good idea to maintain several copies of this material at once so that you can hand it to any doctor you see.

It's important for you to make your own decisions because it helps you retain your independence for as long as possible. It also mitigates the possibility of others taking advantage of or abusing you.

One of those decisions should be implementing relevant powers of attorney to make decisions for you in the case that you become incapacitated or are otherwise rendered incompetent to make your own decisions. It's important to note, too, that in the event of your death, powers of attorney are no longer binding. So, setting up your will and executor is essential along with securing the right headstone.

Benefits of Having a Will/Final Wishes Already in Place for Your Children and Loved Ones

By having all "the paperwork" in order, you make it easier on your loved ones. Things have already been decided, and they can simply follow your instructions rather than having to jump through multiple hoops trying to figure it out for themselves.

Don't Neglect Mental Healthcare

No one bats an eyelash if you have a broken arm and go to the doctor to get a splint. The same holds true if you have an infection and go to the doctor to get a prescription for an antibiotic. However, if you have a mental-health condition or disorder, you are automatically assumed to be deficient in some way. There is still a gigantic stigma attached to mental health. As you age, you become exposed to many things with which you didn't have to deal as a younger person. Seek out that mental-health help because it's part of your treatment.


Just because you are getting older doesn't mean that you shouldn't empower yourself in your own healthcare. Educate yourself, take part in your own treatment, and plan for whatever future remains for you.

Written By

Brittany Cotton

Brittany Cotton is an article writer that focuses on health, wellness, and business. In her free time, you can find her reading, writing, and trying new recipes.

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