11 Unnecessary Medical Tests and Treatments for Seniors

unnecessary medical tests

Not every medical test or treatment is in your senior’s best interest

Experts say that some tests and treatments won’t benefit older adults. Some might even cause harm, especially if your senior is closer to the end of life. But when you’re caring for a parent or spouse, you instinctively want to do everything you can to help them live as long as possible.

That could mean wanting to ask doctors to try every available test and treatment. But toward the end of their lives, your senior’s comfort and quality of life might be more important than living only a little bit longer.

That’s why it’s necessary to fully understand the tradeoffs before making decisions. We found a helpful list that explains the risks and benefits of typical tests and treatments for 11 top senior health conditions.


Common tests and treatments might not benefit your senior

Consumer Reports Health created a list of 11 health conditions common in older adults. For each condition, their printable list explains how typical tests and treatments could be harmful or cause unnecessary discomfort. They also recommend alternatives that may work better.

The 11 common health conditions

  1. Cancer
  2. Heart disease and implantable defibrillators
  3. Diabetes and high blood sugar
  4. Dementia and antipsychotic medicines
  5. Dementia medication like Aricept and Namenda
  6. Sleep issues
  7. Feeding tubes for dementia
  8. Appetite stimulants and high-calorie supplements
  9. Urine tests and antibiotics
  10. Chronic pain
  11. Common screening tests


This list gives more information so you can make the best decision

Keep in mind that every situation and person is different, so some of the “not recommended” treatments could still be the right choice for your senior.

What this list does is give you more information so you can make the best decision and get the best care for the situation. Plus, you’ll be aware of possible side effects so you can catch them sooner rather than later.

The list also includes advice on how often to have a doctor review all medications and explains the benefits of palliative care and hospice.

DailyCaring tip: We hear stories from Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers that differ from Consumer Reports Health’s recommendation to not use antibiotics. Many caregivers say that UTI’s do require antibiotics to resolve the infection and eliminate behavior challenges caused by UTI-related delirium. Always talk with the doctor or get a second opinion if you’re unsure about the right medical treatment.


Next Step  Print or save the list explaining unnecessary tests and treatments for 11 common senior health conditions (PDF)


You might also like:
7 Tips for Helping Seniors at the Doctor’s: Being a Health Advocate
10 Medications Seniors Should Avoid Taking
5 Top Caregiving Tips for Keeping Aging Parents at Home


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Source: Consumer Reports Health
Image: wiseGEEK

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