JULY 14, 2000
Staying Informed And Making Informed Decisions
By: Gail R Mitchell
Caring for a loved one is a huge responsibility. For
many caregivers, there doesn't appear to be enough
time in the day to take time out to research new
advances in medicine, new medications, choices, and
much more. I cannot stress the importance in doing
this work. While it may appear that it interferes with
your daily routines and responsibilities, think about
the time it will save you in the long run when you
are forced to do this work. By being aware in all the
areas that are necessary, you and your loved one
will benefit greatly by your preparation.
·Associations and Organizations
·Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers,
·Support Groups, Therapists
·Area Agency On Aging
·Elder Law Attorneys
·Assisted Living Facilities or Nursing Homes
·Friends and Family
·Legislators - Politicians
·The Person You Are Caring for
Making Informed Decisions:
Frequently, most likely, you will be thrown into
the position of having to make a snap decision.
Will you have enough knowledge to make a
I remember when my mother was rushed to the
hospital. Tests revealed her salt levels were just
a point or two above critical. Her symptoms were
almost like a dementia, not recalling short-term
events and remembering things from the past
very clearly. The doctor warned me that they
would have to delicately bring her salt levels
back into balance or she might suffer permanent
damage. There was a great deal of talk about
her having to go into a rehabilitation facility.
Thus began my in depth research for nursing
homes and rehabilitation facilities by myself and
with her social worker from the hospital. Having
to make a decision without prior discussion as to
what my mother would have wanted was heart
wrenching. Knowing what was available and the
choices available made it easier and comforting.
What if this occurred while I was out of town on
a business trip or vacationing? How could I have
dealt with it then?
Caregivers tend to adjust and fall into a pattern
when things are stable but what if an emergency
crisis arises? What then?
The best thing you can do is to sit quietly for a
few minutes and clear yourself of the emotional
trauma that may have taken hold of you. Ask for
guidance and direction from God or the Higher
Power to help you make the best choice.
Write down the decision that you are faced with.
List two columns. Head one column “pros” and
the other “cons.”
In filling in the columns ask yourself the
·Do I understand what is involved?
·Do I need more information from doctors,
a professional, and your family?
·Is there anyone who can help me make this decision?
·Will the decision be for the highest good of the
carerecipient as well as yourself?
·Will the needs of your loved one be met?
·Will anyone be hurt or at risk as a result of the
·Must I make an immediate decision or can it wait?
Gather as much information from whatever resources
you need to make a wise decision. Most of all keep
your loved one informed and involved in the process
if they have their mental faculties in tact. By
weighing the pros and cons, you will be able to
make a clearer more informed decision.
Remember to trust in your judgment. Know that
all your decisions will work out for the highest good
of those concerned. This will cut down on the guilt
feelings you may experience as a result of the
decisions. The phrase I keep in mind is that we are
in the right place, at the right time for the right
reasons. There is no right or wrong way when you
approach your decision methods in this fashion.
We look forward to the opportunity
of serving you. We welcome your
comments, suggestions, and questions.
Please feel free to contact us at:
Boomers' Caregiver's Main Page
Boomers' Caregiver's Articles
Gail's Web Site :
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