Friday, 30 January 2015

7 important considerations when caring for the elderly

If you take care of an elderly relative you know that it can be a tough job with lots of things to think about. With the responsibility leading to emotional as well as physical and mental strain, it can have a massive effect on people’s lives. You need to remember to get a balance between your work, responsibilities and your relaxation in order to ward off exhaustion. Whilst looking after an elderly person, it is important to keep the following factors at the forefront of your mind.
The Accessibility of their Home
Unless you live with the elderly person, you cannot be with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Therefore, it is important to ensure their house is safe to use effectively. Lowering kitchen cupboards, fitting hand rails and keeping a torch handy are all good tips. There are several alterations you can make to bathrooms to make them easier to use. Today, ‘wet room’ set-ups are becoming increasingly popular.
Signs of Dementia
As people advance in years they become more prone to dementia-related illnesses such as alzheimer’s. The symptoms of early stage alzheimer’s can include forgetfulness (words, objects, dates and recent conversations), getting lost and being confused. If you notice any of these things you should book an appointment with a doctor.
Are they on the Right Medication?
Various complaints can stem from a person not being on the right medication. Medical complaints can change over time or develop therefore it is worth regularly checking with a doctor or a pharmacy that medicines are being effective and whether dosages need to be adjusted.
Vitamin D intake
As older people often spend much longer indoors and their skin become less able to synthesize vitamin D, they can suffer from a deficiency in it. It is worth looking into factoring in higher levels or vitamin D in their diet and perhaps taking supplement pills as lack of vitamin D can lead to weak bones.
Should you consider a care home?
This is often a tricky decision and a difficult subject to broach with a relative but if you feel they are suffering from living at home – they may be falling regularly or struggling to deal with day-to-day life – it may be better for everyone involved for them to move into a care home. Such home provides by providers like Extra Care can be warm environments with lots going on.
Signs of Depression
If your relative is experiencing sadness, fatigue, weight loss and sleep disturbances they may be starting to suffer from depression, another common condition amongst the elderly. Again, the best thing you can do if you notice these signs is to see a doctor.
Tripping and Falls Hazards
Rugs and mats are the scourge of the NHS, every year thousands of elderly people are admitted to accident and emergency after tripping on an unnecessary mat. Get rid of them!
Social Life
An active social life can be the best medicine for an older person. Encourage them to see friends, join clubs and call family members as often as possible.

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