Elderly Health Care

Elderly health care is a necessarily complex subject. Bodily systems necessarily fade, but on the other hand, many discomforts of age don’t have to be simply tolerated. Even disabilities can be managed. The complexity of elderly health care is that a problem might be minor and easily fixable, or it might be a sign of something very serious. Did a person’s grandfather not remember what was said to him because he didn’t hear it and needs a hearing aid, or did he not remember because he’s in early stage dementia?

Medications
The first thing a person can do for their elderly loved one is make sure they’re not being over-medicated. Many elderly people are taking at least one medication for some malady and the average senior is taking six medications at the same time. This is worrisome even in a young person, but the body of an elderly person doesn’t tolerate drugs as well as it once did. They’ve had changes in their levels of hormones, body fat, water content, stomach acid, kidney and liver functions, all of which can affect the way the body deals with drugs. Misuse of drugs in the elderly can lead to serious or even fatal complications.

A caregiver should always communicate with the elderly patient’s doctor and ask question whenever a new drug is prescribed. They should also keep records of the drugs that are taken, including their names, the reason why they’re being taken, the dates they were started and stopped, instructions and side effects. That way, if the elderly person has new symptoms the caregiver can look in the records and call the doctor. Side effects in elderly people include restlessness, dizziness, clumsiness and falls, confusion, depression, stomach pains, changes in sleep, incontinence, tremors and rashes and unusual sensitivity to the sun.

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A Geriatric Care Manager
Geriatric care managers are often social workers or nurses who are trained in geriatrics or gerontology and can handle nearly every aspect of elderly care. They can find a good nursing home, deal with the staff, be available in the case of an emergency, coordinate home care workers, find community services and financial advisers. They can even make sure the elderly patient keeps their doctor’s appointments and confer with the doctors. They must also keep the elderly patient’s loved ones appraised of their situation. They should give written monthly reports or provide other forms of communication with the elderly person’s loved ones.

Home Health Care
Home health care is either skilled or custodial based on Medicare’s definition. Skilled care involves more intensive medical care provided by nurses and therapists. People who provide custodial care help the elderly person with bathing, cooking, shopping and other daily tasks. A good and responsible home health care professional is a blessing, but the elderly patient’s loved one should still keep an eye on what’s going on in the patient’s residence.

The Physician
An elderly patient might need to see a myriad of specialists, but they should really have one personal physician who can keep track of all their maladies and medications. They should refer them to specialists and coordinate their care to make sure that one treatment doesn’t cancel out or worsen the other. But the relationship with the doctor isn’t one way. The patient needs to be informed and not afraid to ask questions. This is also true of their caregiver.

My name is Nisha, I represent a site called mha.org. I like to write about elderly care and families. Feel free to visit our site for more information on care homes in Wales.

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