Caring for the elderly – whatever you call your search for assistance for family members, friends, or yourself, you are on an important quest. Our goal need to be as their elder care ‘intermediary’ connecting you with trusted organizations, individuals, and resources that can begin to answer your questions and point you in the direction that best meets your care needs. Many seniors and also those who have injuries need special care and equipment in their day to day life. They may need wheelchair, walker or a good walking cane for mobility and going from one place to another.
Tips for those who want to take care of seniors
As the New Year approaches it is important to reflect on the year before and create an improved caregiving plan. Here are some tips to prepare for the year to come:
Stay up to date on what’s current in healthcare, including laws (i.e. the Affordable Care Act), new medical devices, medicines, and treatment options. Mayoclinic.com has a “Research” tab on its homepage dedicated entirely to advances in the health profession and Healthcare.gov is a great source for legal information.
Be sure you have respite care, or at least understand how to access it in the case of an emergency. There are many resources at the local and regional level. Also check out the ARCH National Respite Network.
Develop an emergency plan (if you haven’t already done so) to ensure the safety of your patient if you are unable to provide care. A comprehensive Google search will uncover many resources, including the National Association’s for Home Care and Hospice emergency preparedness packet.
Arm yourself with the right “tools,” including appropriate medications, no-rinse pre-packaged cleansing cloths to making bathing easier, and essentials like one-step barrier cream cloths to cleanse and protect the skin.
Daily assistance that many elders need
Seniors vary in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional needs; types and level of activity; levels of independence; and desires for their daily lives. Mobility is important to the elderly, even if it is just within their own surroundings. The daily living skills most affected by aging and chronic illnesses or disabilities include self-care activities that most people learn in early childhood and tend to take for granted as they mature. Practicing fall prevention. So it makes sense that the type and extent of daily assistance needed for people older than 65 can vary widely from person to person.
Make sure they are properly fitted for either a wheelchair, motorized mobility chair, walker or cane. These include basic survival tasks such as dressing, bathing, grooming, using the toilet, moving in and out of bed or a chair, and eating. Frailty can cause falls. Learning about the different types of assistance available to seniors will help you navigate the spectrum of living assistance—for you or a loved one. Install a wheelchair ramp, hand rails and wider door wells to make getting around the house hassle-free.
Occupational therapists can evaluate a home and its resident and recommend grab bars and other changes to improve safety. But it works the other way, too: falls can lead to frailty. The Activities of Daily Living are a series of basic activities performed by individuals on a daily basis necessary for independent living at home or in the community. A hospital bed, shower chair, lift or tripod bar may assist with getting up from bed or staying safe in the shower. They also help clients develop strength and skills, such as balance, so they can manage more of their daily activities.
If medications affect your balance or alertness, discuss a lower dose or different medicine with your physician. There are many variations on the definition of the activities of daily living but most organizations agree there are 5 basic categories. Studies show that visits from an OT help older people stay in their homes longer. Have your vision checked regularly. Clear your home of clutter and loose rugs or wires. Good lighting is essential; use night-lights in bathrooms, hallways, and, if needed, your bedroom. Wear flat-soled shoes or boots that grip. In bad weather, exercise indoors.
Walking Canes for seniors
Walking canes are designed to help people with mobility issues improve their balance and walk safely. The proper use for a cane is just to help maintain balance. Quad canes are types of canes that have three of four separate feet on their ends. A walking stick should be considered when a person is unable to maintain their balance on their own. There are dozens of canes available on the market today, but not all of them are created equal.
A cane should never be used for weight bearing or for full support of the body. These canes are very supportive, and offer the most support of any of the types of canes. Holding onto objects or depending on other people, even for certain activities, is an indication that a walking stick is necessary. People who hold onto furniture when waking at home usually benefit from using a cane. They are great for people who have severe walking issues, or who have muscle and joint diseases that prevent them from walking easily. A person who experiences repeated falls also needs to consider using a walking stick. Read More