As people grow older, there are any number of things about which they grow wary. Sometimes that fear includes refusal to participate in regular health checkups – or even seek medical help when needs are more urgent. This allows the elder to avoid bad news about conditions that arise as we grow older. Annual physicals and diagnostic tests can be the source of bad news. Not participating avoids the issue.
For older adults, social isolation is an all too common part of life. Many elders have lost spouses and live alone or have children and other family members who do not live close and cannot easily visit on a regular basis. Others are housebound due to injury or illness or cannot drive to visit friends and family, leaving them prone to loneliness and depression and at higher risk for health problems.
At those times when you encounter someone with Alzheimer’s is critical to create an environment and communication that best matches what that individual needs. It is impossible to read the mind of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s and different people with the disease respond to situations differently. That being said, there are a few “best practices” you can adopt.
The call you feared was coming and were thankful every day – until today – that it had not. Mom has fallen and broken a hip. The adult siblings have been talking for several years about the condition of the mid-60’s house she lives in. The “kids” have been helping around when possible, but the conversations more recently have turned to “getting Mom some help”.
There are hundreds of thousands of loving family members whose primary responsibility every day is to take care of those who need them to survive. They are most often elderly parents, but sometimes more extended branches of the family tree. Knowing that meeting the needs of those who cannot care for themselves is rewarding. But it can be exhausting.
Keeping those we love safe is among our highest priorities. And, since falling is the leading cause of injury among the 65+ age category, consider a few of the most common causes of falling and work toward eliminating them.
The discharge procedure at a hospital is an established process. Sometimes, however, the process is so routinized that patients and their families assume that they have been told everything they need to know. On the hospital side, they may assume that patients and their families may know more than they do.
Many families struggle to afford the care that their older loved ones need. The alternatives boil down to living at home and having the necessary help come, using the services of nursing homes or moving to an assisted living facility. By any measure, when possible, staying at home has significant advantages, not only cost, but physically and emotionally, too.
We most often hear the acronym PTSD as it relates to those returning from the stresses of battle in a time of war. As a caregiver for an older adult, you may have recognized some similarities in your own emotional response to your situation. They are similar in many ways. While your own life might not be in danger (though in many ways it could), the life of someone for whom you care is very much in the balance.
When caring for a loved one that is exhibiting “different” behavior, it may be helpful to understand the characteristics of dementia as opposed to less serious behaviors that are associated with natural aging. If the older adult in your care exhibits one or more of the following symptoms, it is time to get your loved one examined for the dementia care they may need.