Decision Making – Fact Sheet
Are you overwhelmed by the decisions you’re facing as a carer?
Here are a few useful tips for you to consider when making big decisions.
About making decisions
As adults, we all have the right to make our own decisions. The law assumes that we can all do so unless there is good reason and evidence to suggest otherwise.
Circumstances can change, and this is especially the case when you are caring for someone. The health and support needs of the person you care for may change with time. Decisions around living arrangements may need to be made. If the demands of care increases with time, it may be better for the person you care for to move into residential care. It is a good idea to discuss the pros and cons of care options with the person you care for. This will help with the decision making process.
If you need to consider end-of-life care, you may need to consider guardianship and powers of attorney, creating a will and legal steps after death. If you need assistance in making financial decisions, talk to someone who is independent such as a financial adviser or solicitor.
What influences you when you make a decision?
Making decisions for ourselves is not always easy at the best of times.
How we make decisions can be influenced by:
- those around us;
- our past experiences;
- our emotional state at the time;
- our culture and beliefs;
- our approach to risk taking;
- economic and other pressures.
Presented with similar circumstances, many of us will make different decisions because we give greater weight to some factors than to others. We often seek the advice of family, friends or colleagues.
Many of us seek expert help at some time or other in our lives. Sometimes we make hasty, impulsive or unusual decisions but this is a normal part of the decision making process and learning as we go through life.
When we are caring for someone we are often making decisions for someone other than ourselves. Usually the needs of the loved one are the most pressing so making decisions for them often comes first.
However we do have our own needs and they are very important too. Balancing this situation can be difficult.
There are also issues of ability or capacity for the loved one to make their own decisions and these abilities need to be taken into account.
All in all, for carers, decision making is a very complex issue with many competing demands!
Seven steps to decision making
In making any decision, there are a number of recognised steps:
- Outline your goal and outcome
- Gather data
- Develop alternatives (i.e. brainstorming)
- List pros and cons of each alternative
- Make the decision
- Take action to implement it
- Learn from and reflect on the decision
Decision making for elder care
When a family member cares for an elderly relative they will need to make decisions about how the care will be provided.
They can provide the care themselves, find family support, access community services, receive respite services or finally choose and secure appropriate residential care.
They will also need to handle finances and medical care along the way.
These decisions will often need an Enduring Power of Attorney in place and an Advance Health Directive.
Decision making for a younger person with disability
When a family member is caring for a child or younger disabled person there are also many medical and welfare decisions to make. These decisions may be made only by the carer or they may need to be made in partnership with the disabled person as they age.
Also for ageing carers the issue of future planning for their loved one and all the decisions to be made to continue the care when they are gone or can no longer give care need to be thought about, planned and put into place for the peace of mind of all involved.
To seek advice, referral or support on planning for the future, call the Carers Queensland’s Carer Advisory Service on 1800 242 636.
- Australian Government – Planning for the future
- Queensland Government – Planning for the future
- Dementia Australia
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While all care has been taken to ensure information is accurate, it is intended as a guide only – please check our Disclaimer Page for more information.