In times of continuous structural changes to healthcare system and rapidly aging society, the nature of caring practice becomes more physically, intellectually and emotionally demanding. While coping with emerging infectious epidemics, high-risk populations and health disparities, care providers often show negative attitudes towards seniors. This may lead to a belief that seniors cannot be given the same opportunities as younger persons.
In a society that values wealth, speed, youth and beauty, seniors may be discriminated against because of the way they look, speak or function. As a result, the impact of age on the detection and management of disease may be profound. In fact, seniors are already excluded from some disease screening or primary prevention programs. For example, refusing treatment based on age alone, lack of qualified personnel to care for seniors, and lack of research on geriatric problems and syndromes. However, such attitudes should not be acceptable in our society.
Although some care providers may think that a senior does not “know what is going on”, seniors should be actively involved in the decision making in all stages of care delivery. Care providers play a vital role in identifying a need for individualized care based on the holistic perspective.
On a personal level, every client centered care provider needs to have high expectations of a senior’s ability to perform a task. While challenging stereotypes of aging, care providers need to promote autonomy and personal control in the care of seniors. Furthermore, care providers need to be ready to adapt to the changing nature of caring practice, and promote appropriate views and care of seniors in all practice settings.
In times of advanced research and scientific advancement, care providers need to utilize innovative models of care that assist them in delivering the highest quality of evidence-based care for seniors.