Cancer recently overtook cardiovascular disease as the primary cause of death in Australia and is undeniably a disease of age. It impacts most predominantly those over 65 years.
One of the challenges carers of elderly people with cancer face, is to manage cancer symptoms and/or treatment in conjunction with other medical complications or comorbidities. On account of advancing age, the elder may or may not have a degree of cognitive impairment, is likely to be somewhat dependent on others and is potentially vulnerable to unfavourable health outcomes. All of these factors combined, contribute to poor outcomes in older cancer patients, making it imperative to provide good disease management.
It is important that medical practitioners, carers and family are included in decision-making conversations and in determining a plan to best manage the elder’s cancer.
Age related assumptions about treatment are often made on behalf of cancer patients, but the individual themselves must be involved (if cognitively able) in decisions that ultimately impact their health and emotional wellbeing. Open communication and conversations around pain management, mental health, education of staff/carers and palliative care, are vital to positive outcomes.
At Homestyle we work with our elders, their families, medical practitioners and hospital liaison services to ensure our residents, living with cancer, are afforded every opportunity to participate fully in day to day life. If you would like to arrange a visit to one of our Homestyle residences, please contact us here.