Autonomy for ourselves but safety for our loved ones. Why?

The quote “Autonomy for ourselves but safety for our loved ones” comes from Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. This is a terrific book and a must read by anyone who is looking after or working with seniors.

The quote refers to the fact that we care more about keeping our loved ones alive than letting them live the life the want. We want autonomy but don’t allow it for them. We restrict their movement, stop them from taking risks and often put them in homes where they are unhappy. All to keep them alive.

Seniors have lived their entire lives making decisions for themselves, balancing risk and reward and forging a life they want. If living at home is what they want, our role should be to support that decision and make it as enjoyable as we can. Not restrict them so that we feel better. A tough decision for many people but perhaps the best for the ones we love!