Majority of Older Adults Want Active Role in Decision Making

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Majority of Older Adults Want Active Role in Decision Making
Majority of Older Adults Want Active Role in Decision Making

(HealthDay News) — A large majority of older adults prefer to participate actively in health care decisions, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Jennifer L. Wolff, PhD, and Cynthia M. Boyd, MD, MPH, both from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, analyzed data from a nationally representative survey of adults aged ≥65 years, conducted in concert with the 2012 National Health and Aging Trends Study (n=2,040), to understand the social context in which older adults manage their health.

The researchers found that approximately two-thirds of older adults (69.4%) self-manage and that one-third co-manage (19.6%) or delegate (11%) health care activities. The majority of respondents prefer an independent or shared role when making health decisions with doctors (84.7%) and family/close friends (95.9%). More than one-third (37.9%) find that managing health care activities is sometimes or often hard for either them or their family/close friends, that health care activities get delayed or don't get done, or that they are cumulatively too much to do (treatment burden).

"Attaining person-centered and family-centered care will require strategies that respect diverse decision-making preferences, minimize treatment burden, and support the broader social context in which older adults manage their health," conclude the authors.

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