Challenges Related to Safety and Independence

Hannah Ward, Thomas E. Finucane, Mattan Schuchman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Advancing age is associated with increasing risk of activities important for independence, such as driving and living alone. Cognitive impairment is more common with older age; financial resources and social support may dwindle. Risk, cognitive impairment, and decisional capacity each change over time. Transparent decision making and harm reduction help balance risk and safety. When a patient lacks decisional capacity, an option that considers the patient's preferences and shows respect for the person is favored. Vulnerable patients making choices that are high risk, and patients for whom others are making such choices, may require state intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-917
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Clinics of North America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Autonomy
  • Ethics
  • Geriatrics
  • Independence
  • Older adults
  • Risk
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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