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I support her right to choose what is right for her at 74. What safeguards can protect her rights?

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Sometimes this can become a delicate balance between respecting a medical professional's opinion vs. making your own choices. But I think it also turns on the specific issues, and the seriousness of the condition.

I wouldn't hesitate to take meds (other than amiodarone) for a cardiac condition, for example, but I'd balk at taking a statin for cholesterol lowering.

And I'd try some nonmedical alternatives as reflexology or acupuncture (which might even be considered a form of medicine) before taking pain pills, unless it was after surgery or something serious like that.

But that's just my own personal preference.

I did butt heads once with an internist who was insistent that my father take Fosamax for osteoporosis, despite the fact that my father had already had 2 fractures (after taking Fosamax for a few years) and experienced side effects from that drug.

I'd already done research on Fosamax and read about the dangers of this medicine. So after Dad fell twice, we discussed the issue and agreed he should d/c it. The internist suggested nothing else, not even therapy to increase leg strength or walking, which from what I had read was as a weight bearing exercise one of the best treatments for osteoporosis.

We eventually parted company.

Are there specific meds that are recommended that your mother doesn't want to take? What are the medical issues for which the doctor feels she should take them?

So I think you need to research and be aware of the side effects of any recommended meds as well as the efficacy of alternative meds.

If you can afford it, the best alternative would be to see a homeopathic doctor or one who treats only with natural remedies. And sometimes you might want to consider a compromise using the best and safest of each alternative.

It's a difficult decision to make.
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If she is competent, it is her choice. If she isn't, and you are POA, be careful, it could lead to elder neglect charges.
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