What to do when a Senior Refuses Treatment

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When a Loved One Refuses Treatment for a Chronic Illness

By Carolina Orosa, 10:03 pm on

As a leading provider of hourly and live-in home care in Vancouver, our caregivers assist many seniors with chronic illnesses. We know that refusing treatment isn’t common among aging adults and this often leaves families contending with a range of difficult emotions. Foremost among these is a pervasive sense of helplessness. Fortunately, however, there are a number of ways to continue offering support and care to your senior loved one if you are in this situation.

Seek Acceptance

In instances in which a senior is justified in his or her decision to refuse treatment, it is important for family members to learn how to accept the given diagnosis and prognosis. For example, some aging adults are well aware of the side effects and discomfort that a proposed treatment might entail. Moreover, the likelihood of treatment success could be too low to justify the resulting discomfort. Once family members are able to accept the decisions that their loved one has made, they will be in a far better position to assist without passing judgment or attempting to challenge these choices.

Understanding Why Treatment has been Refused

Understanding why a senior loved one is refusing treatment plays a large role in a family member’s acceptance of that decision. In some cases, seniors might have logical reasons for refusing treatment, however, there are also times when aging adults are misinformed or confused about costs, side effects, prognoses and other aspects of their circumstances. Learning more about why a person has made this choice is vital for ensuring that the decision to forgo treatment is a sound and well-informed one.

Consider Home Care Services

Untreated illnesses are usually progressive and this means that seniors will have an increasingly difficult time handling their normal responsibilities and caring for themselves. Professional Vancouver home care agencies offer a flexible range of services so that both moderate and extreme needs can be met. These professionals can assist with a variety of routine tasks like cooking, light housekeeping, bathing and dressing, medication reminders, and transportation so that seniors can maintain a sense of autonomy and do not feel burdensome to their loved ones.

Learn more about Alternative Forms of Pain Management

The symptoms of many chronic illnesses can often be alleviated through the use of alternative medicine. More importantly, alternative therapy can open the door to an impressive array of natural, pain management solutions. Refusing conventional treatment for a chronic illness should not leave seniors without options when it comes to managing symptoms and pain. Family members can assist their loved ones in learning more about the benefits of therapeutic massage, acupuncture, red light therapy, naturopathy and other natural treatment options.

If your aging parent or loved one requires care for a chronic illness, know that Home Care Assistance of Vancouver is here to help. Our experienced in-home caregivers are trained to provide post-hospital, stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia care that maximizes safety, while still allowing seniors to age in place comfortably. For more information, call (778) 279-3634 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.