Watching an aging loved one’s health decline can be scary and sad. It’s true that there are some conditions that are out of our control, but it’s not all out of our control. There are a lot of things we can do at any age to boost our health, and there are many healthcare tips you can use to help keep the senior in your life healthy and safe, whether they’re in the nursing home or they’re aging in place at home.
Keep a Close Eye on the Nursing Home
If your loved one is living in the nursing home, you might assume they’re getting the best care possible. That’s often the case, as most nursing homes try their best to do right by all of their residents. Unfortunately, the best intentions aren’t always enough. Abuse can sometimes happen, and if it does, you want to make sure you identify it and take care of the problem quickly.
If you suspect elder abuse, you should contact an elder abuse attorney as quickly as possible. They can help you understand how to document what your loved one is experiencing and ultimately help you get the justice your loved one deserves.
Even if outright abuse isn’t taking place, you should still keep an eye on how the nurses and staff treat your loved one. If they are rude or unpleasant, you may want to speak to the director or look for a new place for your loved one to live.
Look for Ways to Prevent Falls
Living at home is the best option for some seniors who are medically and mentally capable of taking care of themselves. However, that can change in the blink of an eye with a simple fall.
It’s important to help your loved one prevent falls at home because falling just once can increase their chances of requiring long-term care. A few tips for making their home as fall-proof as possible include:
- Clear out the clutter from hallways and main living areas.
- Install grab bars and handrails near steps and in the bathroom.
- Use hallway and under-the-bed lighting at night.
- Make bathroom floors and tubs nonslip with grippy stickers.
- Secure rugs to the floor, or get rid of them altogether.
Make Sure They Are Up-To-Date on Their Health Screenings
It’s natural to require more medical care as we age. To make sure your loved one is getting the care they need, you have to make sure they’re up-to-date on their health screenings.
There are a lot of health tests we need as we age, so it’s easy to let some of those tests accidentally slip through the cracks. Whether it’s simple blood pressure checks, vaccinations, or a mammogram, you can help keep your loved one as healthy as possible by encouraging them to get checked whenever the time comes. In this regard you can help them learning the advantages of medicare advantage plans.
Make Sure They Get Regular Dental, Vision, and Hearing Checkups
Essential health screenings are important, but so are other checkups that are easy to put off. Going to the dentist isn’t fun for anyone, so it’s easy to avoid making an appointment. Not to mention, regular vision and hearing checkups aren’t something we do when we’re younger, so it’s easy to continue to not do them as we get older. However, they are all important as we age.
Help your loved one schedule dental, vision, and hearing checkups. The earlier issues are identified, the less likely they are to turn into huge problems.
Attend Appointments With Your Loved One
Going to appointments can be scary when you have to go alone. If your loved one is less likely to go if they have to go by themselves, you should consider going with them. It encourages them to keep the appointment, and you’ll know that they actually went because you took them yourself!
Your loved one can benefit from having someone else at their appointment in other ways as well. When they’re discussing a diagnoses or sensitive or potentially embarrassing information, they may not think to ask important questions that you can ask as a third party. It also shows the doctor that your loved one has someone looking out for them, so they are more likely to provide friendly quality care.
Encourage Your Loved One to Protect Their Skin Outside
Many older adults grew up going outside without worrying about their skin. Ask they get older, they continue the same habits and don’t protect their skin when they are out and about. That can cause some serious problems, because as we age, our skin gets thinner, drier, and less elastic, making it especially susceptible to the sun.
Encourage your loved one to protect their skin outside, even if they only plan on being outside for 30 minutes. A few tips might include:
- Wear sunscreen.
- Find a shady spot.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts.
- Avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day.
Encourage Them to Eat the Right Foods
Eating the right foods is important at any age, but it can be increasingly important as we age. That’s especially true if your loved one has a medical condition that requires a special kind of diet.
For example, seniors with diabetes require a different kind of diet, and people with osteoporosis would do well to eat calcium-fortified foods.
Encourage your loved one to eat well by bringing them meals during the week, or offer to come over and cook a new recipe with them. They are a lot more likely to enjoy their dietary changes if you participate instead of simply nagging at them to eat better.
A lot of pieces have to come together to make sure your loved one is as healthy as possible. Whether in the nursing home or inside their own home, in the doctor’s office or at the dinner table, there are many ways you can help grandma or grandpa get the most out of their health well into old age.