Older adults need specialized care to stay healthy. With age, the immune system, cognitive abilities, and reflexes slow down, making the elderly more prone to injuries. However, with enough vigilance, you can take care of them, ensuring they are happy and satisfied.
Before you can lend your support, you need to know what you are doing. You will need to monitor an older person’s needs, maintain their hygiene, and ensure they eat enough. But your job will not end there. Geriatric care is a delicate balance between providing care and knowing when to give yourself a break. Therefore, make sure you provide care to the best of your abilities. Here is what you need to know:
Provide Sufficient Medical Care
According to the National Council on Aging, over 92% of senior Americans have one chronic disease. These illnesses can include coronary heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. For older people managing chronic conditions can become difficult without professional care. As a family member, you should ensure your loved one has the best geriatric specialist, tending to their needs.
While curing some chronic diseases is not possible, you can help manage the illness and provide these patients with pain relief. However, if you are a nurse, you can become the senior specialist families are looking for simply by enrolling into an AGNP Master’s program to gauge the necessary skills. Your evaluation of your older patient’s condition followed by the recommended treatment will help put families at ease.
As a family member, you should ensure your relative has an organized way of taking their medicines. A pill organizer is a good investment in such circumstances. This allows you to arrange pills into separate compartments, preventing the doses from getting mixed up. When your loved one receives a new prescription, ask the doctor and find out why they need it.
On the other hand, if you are a nurse, you should take the time to explain the usage and possible side effects of every medicine. It would help explain medicine usage to a responsible caretaker to ensure safe administration.
Look Into a Nutritious Diet
You should help your loved ones with meal prepping since cooking may be difficult. Prepare meals that are easy to digest and provide all the essential vitamins. If your loved one cannot chew, you should blend the ingredients into a smoothie.
Elderly folks should have a well-balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats with minimal caffeine and sugar. While you may not always be around to prepare a hearty meal for them, look into hiring a caretaker.
Take Safety Precautions
You will need to spend some time modifying your loved ones’ space to make it safer for them. Growing older weakens the reflexes, leading to your loved one falling. About one in three American adults fall every day and get injured. Therefore it is of utmost importance you make modifications around the house. For instance, if your loved one is a wheelchair user, you should install a ramp for each movement. You should also install hand grabs for them in the bathroom, which will make it easy for your relatives to support themselves.
As a nurse, you should also advise caretakers to have a first aid box handy. Even with all the precautions, accidents can still happen. Therefore, a first aid box will make it easier to treat minor wounds. While making modifications around the house, you should also get rid of clutter. This keeps the environment tidy and minimizes the risk of falling.
Stay On Top of Technology
You may have relatives who struggle to go to the hospital due to their fragile health. In such cases looking into telehealth is a good idea. The process involves speaking with a healthcare practitioner over the internet. This will make it easier for your relatives to ask for help without further aggravating themselves since they can contact a healthcare provider.
If you are a healthcare professional, you should facilitate telehealth by actively participating and answering your patient’s questions. It would help if you communicated where you think care may be lacking, and the older patient may suffer. Let the caretaker know if you feel they need extra time and attention. Without proper communication, providing care is not possible.
Socialization is beneficial for your loved one in many ways. It stimulates the brain, releases positive hormones like serotonin, and helps your loved one’s mental health condition. Older people can get isolated at home, and you need to fix this. You should consider arranging family activities at home to make your loved one feel more involved.
If you feel like your relative needs friends of their age, you should look into old houses and old people facilities where your loved one can visit. These can include family gatherings, dinners, or even a game night. If all goes well, your elderly loved one may also make a friend.
Take Care of Yourself
While you take care of others, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Caretaker burnout is a common phenomenon, with over 40% of Americans feeling stressed. You should have a margin of time to do activities outside of providing care. These can include indulging in your hobbies or taking a moment to rest. If you neglect yourself and dedicate your time to senior care alone, you will come to resent them, which shouldn’t happen.
When you feel drained, you need time to recoup, or you will damage your health. Healthcare practitioners need a break, too. It is not easy to spend time with patients, providing treatment to them one after the other. The excessive workload paves away into exhaustion, increasing chances to mess up a patient’s case. Therefore, for the sake of the health of your loved ones and yours, rest more. This will also help you look after your family members or patients better.
Older people need your help with their health. The best way to provide this care is by being attentive to all their needs. You need to ensure that you provide adequate medical services, whether as a relative or a healthcare professional. Dependency is not easy for anyone, but you can make caretaking easier with the right attitude. Don’t forget to help an older person with their meal prep.
While you’re at it, you may also want to modify the house into a safer space. Take advantage of modern-day technology and use telehealth on difficult days. Once in a while, make sure you arrange for family gatherings to encourage socialization. Don’t leave out your name from the list in your attempt to care for others. Make sure you give yourself time to recoup too.