Aging is a long-term process, starting with a gradual decrease in the functionality of the human body. With age, there is a loss of psychological flexibility and the ability to adapt. Older adults lose interest in the new; they fear the unknown; they want stability and reliability. Awareness of the inevitability of aging, coupled with a loss of social status, physical limitations, and mental changes, leads older people to a narrower circle of friends. It also contributes to the emergence of a feeling of inferiority and uselessness, and sometimes to severe depressive conditions. I decided to interview a member of my family, my sixty-five-year-old grandmother, about her experience in the healthcare system. She told me about the reasons for her refusal to see a doctor, talked about which doctors she felt most concerned about, and her family’s involvement during treatment. Through the interview, I was able to find out the underlying causes of anxiety in older people and learn more about their experiences in various institutions of the health care system.
I asked my grandmother if she felt that her stage in life affected her interactions with healthcare professionals. After a moment’s hesitation, she said that lately, she had noticed a change in how she perceives health services and the people who provide them. She began to trust the actions and predictions of doctors less. However, she has become more secretive about her symptoms – even if her health condition deteriorates significantly, she can hardly admit it to doctors. My grandmother does not want to turn to medical services until recently since this is associated with stress and a considerable waste of money. The problem of refusal to see a doctor is typical among older people, but solving it requires finding out why the very thought of going to the hospital causes anxiety (Lane, 2020). In particular, for my grandmother, one of these reasons is the risk of spending a significant part of her savings on medical treatment.
It was terrifying for my grandmother to go to an ophthalmologist and a cardiologist since her eyesight and heart work had been causing strong concern lately. The size of the pupil decreases with age as the muscles that control it weaken. This process makes the pupil less sensitive to light, so older people need brighter lighting for reading. In addition, at an older age, the eye rebuilds more slowly when moving from a dark to a light room (Hazanchuk, 2020). It seemed to my grandmother that the vision problems she experienced were typical of older people, so there is no need to bother the doctor “over a trifle.” A similar situation arose concerning visiting a cardiologist. However, the grandmother did not consider her problems in this area insignificant, but she was afraid of what kind of diagnosis the doctors might give her. The usual persuasive conversation is sometimes not enough to convince relatives to visit the clinic.
My grandmother talks about how my parents visited her while she was in the hospital. They also helped her to transport the things she needed and were constantly involved in the treatment process. This support helped the grandmother maintain a positive attitude and made her feel cherished. After my grandmother was discharged, my parents, having read the post-procedure instructions, periodically reminded her of the importance of taking medication. When the grandmother asked for help, the parents gave injections and massage – the grandmother was admitted to the hospital after a back injury. It is wise to help those who are injured emotionally, listen to their requests and experiences, and make sure that they do not overexert themselves (Core, 2017). In general, it is essential to pay attention to the emotional state of our loved ones, especially when it comes to older adults who often underestimate the importance of taking care of their health.
Core, M. (2017). 5 things you can do to support someone with an injury. Össur. Web.
Hazanchuk, V. (2020). 20 ways aging changes your eyes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Web.
Lane, P. (2020). Why is my aging parent refusing to go to the doctor? Centennial Home Care Assistance.