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Making a significant decision for better outcomes for an aging population

As we age, we might need to make significant decisions. However, making significant decisions can be a daunting task. Whether it's a personal or professional decision, making a choice can be stressful and challenging. However, one can follow various decision-making phases to make the process smoother and more manageable. In this blog, we will discuss the different decision-making stages and how they can be used to make significant decisions.

  1. Changes over time: Changes over time can significantly impact generating the recognition of needs, which drives decision-making. As situations and circumstances evolve, our needs and priorities can shift, requiring us to reassess our goals and make new decisions. Here are some ways in which changes over time can generate new needs:

    1. Evolving Goals and Objectives: As we progress through life, our goals and objectives can change due to various factors such as personal growth, changes in circumstances, and shifting priorities. For example, a person who initially pursued a career in finance may realize over time that their true passion lies in a creative field. This change in career aspirations may generate the recognition of a need to make a significant decision to switch careers or retire.

    2. Changes in External Environment: The external environment is constantly changing, which can significantly impact our lives. For example, a new regulation in the healthcare industry may require healthcare providers to adopt new technology or procedures. This change in the external environment may generate the need to make a significant decision to invest in new technology or change how a person participates in healthcare to adjust to the new regulation.

    3. New Opportunities and Challenges: New opportunities and challenges can arise over time that can generate the need for a decision. For example, an aging person may realize that their way of maintaining social connections is ineffective in reaching their grandchildren as they become adults. This recognition of a need to invest in technology and learn to be present on social media.

    4. Changes in Personal Circumstances: Changes in personal circumstances such as retirement, loss of partner, or growing family can also generate the need for a decision. For example, a person who just had a grandchild may recognize the need to make a significant decision about their daily schedule to balance personal and family responsibilities.

  2. Recognition of Needs: The next phase of decision-making is recognizing the needs. This phase involves identifying the situation, problem, or desire requiring a decision. It's crucial to define the problem clearly and understand the root cause of the issue. This phase involves gathering relevant information, data, and facts about the situation, problem, or desire. This step is crucial because it sets the foundation for the rest of the decision-making process.

  3. Evaluation of Options: Once the problem or situation is identified, the next phase is to evaluate the available options. This phase involves brainstorming and generating ideas about how to solve the problem or situation. It's important to consider all options, even if they seem unconventional or unlikely. This step is crucial because it helps to expand the scope of possibilities and uncover new solutions.

  4. Resolution of Concerns: The decision-making phase involves resolving any concerns or uncertainties about the available options. This phase is about weighing each option's pros and cons and identifying potential risks or drawbacks. It's important to evaluate each option's feasibility, cost, and impact to determine the best course of action. This step is crucial because it helps mitigate risks and ensure the chosen option is most effective.

  5. Decision: Once all concerns have been resolved, the next phase is to decide. This phase involves selecting the best option based on the information gathered in the previous phases. It's essential to make a well-informed decision considering all relevant factors. This step sets the course for the implementation phase.

  6. Implementation: The final phase of decision-making is implementing the chosen option. This phase involves putting the decision into action and executing the plan. It's essential to monitor progress, adjust as needed, and ensure the plan is on track to achieve the desired outcome. This step is crucial because it determines whether the decision was successful.

How was your last significant decision made?

We guess, similarly. Making significant decisions can be challenging, but usually, people follow the above decision-making phases, and this can make the process more manageable. By realizing the changes, recognizing the need for a decision, evaluating options, resolving concerns, making a decision, and implementing the plan, one can make a well-informed decision that achieves the desired outcome. In the case of the aging population, once we would like to support the decision-making of the elderly or caregivers, we have to accept and adjust to the decision-making stages, resulting in a better outcome for all.


  1. In their study "The Impact of Changing Circumstances on Decision Making," researchers from the University of Liverpool found that changes in circumstances can lead to a shift in priorities and goals, resulting in the recognition of needs and a reassessment of decision making. (Reference: Dickinson, T., & Newell, B. (2015). The Impact of Changing Circumstances on Decision Making. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1636.

  2. A study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that changes in the external environment can affect decision making by influencing the perception of rewards and risks associated with a decision. (Reference: Nieuwenhuis, S., Heslenfeld, D. J., von Geusau, N. J., Mars, R. B., Holroyd, C. B., & Yeung, N. (2014). Activity in Human Reward-Sensitive Brain Areas is Strongly Predictive of Individual Differences in Decision Making. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(4), 568–577.

  3. In their research paper "Opportunity Recognition and Entrepreneurial Decision Making: A Cognitive Perspective," researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that changes in personal circumstances and new opportunities can generate the recognition of needs, which drives entrepreneurial decision-making. (Reference: McMullen, J. S., & Shepherd, D. A. (2006). Entrepreneurial Action and the Role of Uncertainty in the Theory of the Entrepreneur. Academy of Management Review, 31(1), 132–152.

  4. Recognition of needs: In their study "Decision making and the avoidance of cognitive demand," researchers from the University of Cambridge found that the recognition of needs involves the assessment of the current state, the identification of a desired outcome, and the determination of the actions needed to bridge the gap between the two. (Reference: Kurth-Nelson, Z., & Redish, A. D. (2012). "Don't Let Me Do That!"—Models of Precommitment in Decision Making. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6, 138.

  5. Evaluation of options: A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that the evaluation of options involves comparing the benefits and drawbacks of each option and considering personal values and preferences. (Reference: Simonson, I., & Tversky, A. (1992). Choice in Context: Tradeoff Contrast and Extremeness Aversion. Journal of Consumer Research, 19(3), 319–330.

  6. Resolution of concerns: In their research paper "How People Evaluate a Decision's Outcome: Short-term and Long-term Evaluations," researchers from the University of Michigan found that the resolution of concerns involves the assessment of the immediate and long-term consequences of a decision, as well as the identification and resolution of any conflicts or uncertainties. (Reference: Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2000). Beyond Valence: Toward a Model of Emotion-Specific Influences on Judgement and Choice. Cognition and Emotion, 14(4), 473–493.

  7. Decision: A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the decision itself involves a trade-off between accuracy and efficiency, as individuals must balance the need to make a timely decision with the desire to make an informed and accurate choice. (Reference: Payne, J. W., Bettman, J. R., & Johnson, E. J. (1988). Adaptive Strategy Selection in Decision Making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(3), 497–509.

  8. Implementation: In their study "Antecedents and Consequences of Implementing Decisions: An Integrative Framework," researchers from the University of Amsterdam found that the implementation of decisions involves the identification and allocation of resources, as well as the management of resistance and obstacles. (Reference: Van den Bos, K., Lind, E. A., & Wilke, H. A. M. (1998). Antecedents and Consequences of Implementing Decisions: An Integrative Framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(2), 271–282.


About Aceso

ACESO is a patient-centric solution for smart and sustainable healthcare, employing a co-creative approach to realize integrated health and oral-care platform in which intelligent devices use data analytics for adaptable health and well-being. ACESO will monitor parameters related to physical health (blood pressure, glucose, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc.), activity, sleep, and oral hygiene integrative, providing primary users with personalized and adaptive feedback extracted by the underlying artificial intelligence engine. A patient-centric approach involving users in maintaining their health will bring clear benefits for the elderly and caregivers. AAL funds Aceso. More about Aceso...

About AAL

Active Assisted Living Programme

Aging Well in the Digital World - is a funding program that aims to create a better quality of life for older people and strengthen industrial opportunities in healthy aging technology and innovation. More about AAL.

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