People are empowered in their everyday lives when they can make decisions that positively affect their health and care. Here at Eldernet, we firmly believe that our older people should be able to make informed choices about their lives and be included to the fullest possible extent in the decision making process. This is very much in line with the Healthy Aging Strategy released in December 2016 by the Ministry of Health. You can find an online version here.
Everyone goes on about how great choice is but sometimes, many of the decisions older people have to make are not really ones they want to make. Unfortunately, many older people are put in positions where they are forced make choices or give up things as a result of some sort of loss. In these situations, people may find it hard to choose, or select, from a series of alternatives, none of which they really like. This changes “choice” from something that is conceived to be positive, to something that is very much not.
Having relevant and up to date information is vital so that people are able to make good decisions, however when this information is delivered is almost as important. No one, no matter what age, likes to feel like they are ‘backed into a corner’. As people enter into the ‘third stage’ of life, many may experience feelings of loss; loss of their career, colleagues, friends etc. They may have changes in their financial status, their health may deteriorate which could hinder them from doing the same activities they did before. All these things can result in people feeling like they have lost control over their lives. Having relevant information given to people early on can help individuals and families prepare for some of these situations. Planning for these types of events also opens up discussions and gives people the opportunity to think and talk about what they really want, their values, preferences and beliefs. It also ensures that if something does happen and people are required to make decisions on your behalf, they know your wishes. Thinking and talking about what could happen also gives people a better understanding of what their options could be if those situations arise.
At Eldernet, our aim is to get information out to people not just when you need it, but before you need it. Eldernet has a wide range of options for people in many different categories including retirement facilities, day care providers, community groups, mental health providers, dental facilities even tours and recreational providers! Simply search for a particular service you are looking for on Eldernet.
We also have a lot of information for people to look at to help decide what options suit them. You can find these resources here.
We also have our “Where from Here” handbook for people who are not computer savvy, these resources are free for everyone through approved agencies and via health professionals. These also can be ordered here, but these do incur a small fee. Alternatively, many agencies stock these handbooks, including Age Concern, your local libraries, Grey Power, Citizens Advice Bureaux, GPs and DHBs so go pick up a copy!