Autonomy and Empowerment for the Elderly

598 Words2 Pages
Autonomy and Age Autonomy is the capacity of self-determination. Sometimes this may be difficult to achieve for the elderly, many of whom may be cognitively impaired or have multiple physical needs. Sometimes professionals who think they are helping the elderly may in fact impede autonomy (Guido). Often the elderly may decide to delegate decision making to another. In these circumstances it is important to be sure that the elderly person has not been coerced into selecting a certain individual act as a surrogate. Moreover, the elder should be continually asked for his or her viewpoint when a decision is to be made. There is a professional duty to make sure persons under their care have an adequate knowledge base in order to make informed decisions. The principle of benefice states that the actions a person takes should promote good. Furthermore, the principle of non-malfeasance sates that a person should do no harm (Ensign). Research suggests that it is important for elderly individuals to be empowered as long as possible in order to decrease their dependency on those around them. Typical symptoms of powerlessness are apathy, depression with an emphasis toward chronic illness, expression of no control over a situation, non-participation, and passivity (Meddaugh and Peterson). These symptoms may eventually block successful cooperation among care givers and family members. Positive health promotion can enable the elderly to increase their sense of control over and ability
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