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Senior Living and Health Goals

Feb 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of Riverside and Corona

It’s February, and that means that by next week, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions will already have failed. Disappointing, right?

A geriatrician named James Mold who recently released a book called Achieving Your Personal Health Goals is trying to combat this problem in seniors, in hopes of getting them back to their best health and happiest selves:

Strategies vs. Goals

When we label something a resolution, we may view it as a sort of goal to achieve.

Dr. Mold explains that this is exactly why so many resolutions fail – these resolutions are actually strategies, with no concrete end goal.

The same mindset can be given to senior health goals. According to Dr. Mold, most doctors focus on strategies, not goals. They assume that if you are really good at the strategies, then the goals should just naturally become achieved.

While this method may work well for some situations, such as an infection or injury, it doesn’t work so well for others.

The things that aren’t easily treatable (the chronic conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and so forth) are not treated well in this manner. There needs to be concrete health goals with these conditions, to which a strategy can be planned to help achieve them.

Dr. Mold gave this example from his own mother and her health goals:

  • Her goal: get back to a hobby she loved, gardening.
  • Her objective: to get rid of needing to use a walker.
  • Her strategy to accomplish her goal: improve her balance, so she won’t need the walker.

Reframed Thinking

This new way of thinking may help change societal views on aging, as well.

Instead of it being unavoidable and unfortunate, looking at it in a goal-oriented manner can help make it feel like a natural part of life that one should be accepting of, and prepared for. Getting old isn’t the problem, it’s the way we view life and our health, and what we’re doing to improve our quality of life.

A Negotiation of Sorts

If the idea of setting goals wasn’t the biggest takeaway for you, Dr. Mold at least encourages this to be: goal-oriented care is about negotiating with your doctor to create a plan for yourself, not the patient setting a goal and the doctor leading them directly to it.

Nor is it the doctor dictating unto the patient what they need to be doing. The provider and patient work together, coming to common ground on a feasible goal for their health, and how it can be achieved.

Looking at your New Year’s Resolutions, what health goals can you see for yourself this year? Talk to your doctor about them, and possible strategies to help achieve them.

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