Ageism is a prevalent problem in society, including in the healthcare system. Many people unconsciously engage in ageist behaviors. In the medical field, this can manifest as either undertreatment or overtreatment of people who are ages 65 and older. Virginia has elder abuse laws to help protect this age group. You should have an understanding of what to watch for to catch ageism when it occurs to you or your loved one.
Undertreatment of the elderly
Some doctors make the mistake of overlooking symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion and bruises in the elderly. They assume that these symptoms are from normal signs of aging, but they could indicate health conditions like brain tumors. Bruises may also mean nursing home neglect or physical abuse. Doctors must consider the possibilities and question whether these symptoms are from aging or another issue.
Aches and pains aren’t normal signs of aging, although many people believe this because the media presents the elderly in this way. Healthcare professionals must take aches and pains seriously in their patients regardless of their age.
Overtreatment of the elderly
Taking more medications isn’t necessarily better. Doctors should be willing to consider alternative treatments rather than prescribing a lot of medications for their patients. Because clinical trials frequently exclude older participants who have multiple chronic conditions, healthcare professionals may not know the safety of mixing medications. It’s important to begin taking the elderly age group into consideration during drug research.
Perception of the elderly
People, in general, value the lives of the young more than the old. This bias can lead to improper medical care and research.
Ageism is an issue you should be on the lookout for whenever your loved one receives medical care. Look for doctors who take their symptoms seriously and consider the possibilities rather than brushing them off as normal aging.