Elderly Health Care Issues & Solutions
Elderly health care issues may be sudden & swift
...To both senior citizens and their caregivers. And sometimes we are fortunate to age in place slowly. In either case, recent studies by AARP have estimated that family and friends, themselves, provide care of the elderly (unpaid) worth over $360 billion per year.
I first learned about elderly issues and caregiving when I was a child. My grandparents lived next door (my mother was a nurse). Grandpa had had a stroke and Grandma had a heart condition. So I was assigned many caregiving duties to help out, which I enjoyed. That experienced peaked my interest in senior activities and caregiving later in life. Including becoming the primary caregiver for my father when he was 93 1/2.
Nowadays many caregivers, of course, are baby boomers who themselves have full- or part-time jobs. And often their own children at home. They're part of the "sandwich generation." Worrying about elderly health care and caregiver duties triggers a myriad of concerns.
Our seniors experience stress, and so do caregivers. As we know, our attitude and thinking are of utmost importance, as they can impact the very chemistry and physiology of our brains and moods, and thus our health. It makes all the difference in the world. I am personally a firm advocate of positive thinking and have seen the enormous difference it can make in the elderly. Sometimes it is a natural ability in a person's personality. But it is a skill that can be learned at any age. And well worth it. I find it begins with finding something to be grateful for each day.
Dealing with Changes
It is true that sometimes a sudden crisis may occur that catapults you into a series of unexpected events. Or perhaps certain conditions have been gradual, but now have become real elderly problems. We need to somehow cope. There may be many new questions -- What type of housing or senior retirement living situation do your or your elderly loved one need? What kind of elderly assistance is best in your situation -- should you care for elderly in-home? What are the fundamentals of caregiving, and where do you get quality home healthcare information? What about assisted living for seniors?
As our loved ones age, we must be observant about habits and lifestyles we used to take for granted. And to listen. Seniors often "ask" without asking. Afraid of losing their dignity or independence, there may only be hints. But if we observe, we can find the clues that hint at special elderly health care needs.
Elderly problems can mean a change in routine or care. If you've noticed specific changes, talk them over with your loved one. Express your concern, but involve them in the solution as much as possible. You may want to jump in and take charge, be efficient, get things resolved quickly. But if the issue is not threatening, step back and encourage the elderly to participate with you.
Discuss the changes you've noticed and offer to help an elderly parent or friend in small ways at first -- perhaps with grocery shopping, laundry, or paying bills. Good elderly nutrition is vital for overall well-being. Without quality groceries in the house, your loved ones may be headed for elderly nutrition problems. Issues with nutrition are a very big factor with elderly health care. In fact, studies have shown that actual malnutrition is one of the biggest reasons elderly become hospitalized. (We go into this further in our Nutrition area).
Establishing a new routine of care for the elderly may cause resistance. Even by family members or friends. It may be easier to just go into denial for awhile. To deal with it later.
Is the Clock Ticking
But in some instances, your loved one's clock is ticking and "awhile" could trigger a crisis with elderly health care. A senior's vision issues, for instance, may be the result of dreaded macular degeneration. There are treatments now that can halt its progress, but they are timely. Waiting may cause irreparable damage. Likewise, stroke symptoms also resemble those of other problems. But they must be tended to immediately. Learn more on our page about stroke guidelines.
If you have major concerns or are unsure about discussing these elderly issues with your loved one, involve a professional. If you observe hearing loss symptoms, make an appointment with a hearing loss expert, an eye doctor, the primary care physician, or other elderly health care professional.
It is also extremely important to receive regular dementia screening. This is one of the ever-increasing elderly issues -- see our dementia overview. The most updated world-wide dementia report was issued in the fall of 2009 (we discuss this in our Dementia area) notating that this elderly health care problem had increased to almost epidemic proportions globally. And will continue to be on the rise.
The elderly often accept directives from a professional that they would resist if coming from a family member. Giving up driving, for instance. That can be one of the most traumatic elderly problems.
Attend the appointments with your loved one, and go prepared. Make a list of questions and concerns about senior issues in advance.
The professional will seek to discover the cause of the issue and recommend solutions, including if intervention is needed.
If an acute event has already occurred and your elderly loved one is in the hospital, an expert (a social worker or discharge planner) will usually be assigned to review options. There are many resources to help you.
Be sure to also read:
Restless Leg Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes -- Symptoms and causes of this annoying and sometimes painful condition can be mysterious. Frustrating. And can wreck your sleep. Read the personal experiences of me and my elderly Dad, how we narrowed it down and got relief.
Aging and Sleep - From Curse to Comfort -- Aging and sleep (or lack of it) may seem to go hand in hand. There are lots of specifics involved, both for causes and remedies. Get some interesting tips and read what experts say.
Falls in Elderly - Why, & What To Do -- Falls in elderly are the main reason for accidents & injuries for age 65 and over. There are specific causes for falls. Do you know them? And the preventions?
Taking Care of Teeth - The Best and Easiest Tips -- These tips on taking care of teeth come right from my father and brother, both dentists. I also have two cousins who are dentists, so I’ve been around it all my life. These basic tips are great for any age, kids or seniors. In the long run, they can save you not only a lot of money, but a whole lot of potential pain.
Top Anti-Aging Advice -- So is 80 the new 75? And 90 the new 80? Much anti-aging advice seems to think this is the trend. This page will review valuable tips, attitudes, and medical insights that can help people of all ages with the aging process.
Easy Exercise For Seniors -- (and baby boomers too). We all know how and why exercise for seniors and baby boomers is important. But what are some really easy and fun ways to make sure we do it? Get some new ideas for yourself or someone you help. Exercise is an vital part of elderly health care.
Facing Elderly Stress Issues -- I recently was stunned about a lack of perception regarding elderly stress issues by some people, on an online Q&A forum about seniors, the many misconceptions of just what our elderly go through, and the serious affects on them. Read what was said and how I responded. How will we cope when we go through something similar?
Signs of Elderly Problems
-- There are telling signs of elderly problems. Problems that are often hidden. It is crucial to learn to tell the signs for the health and safety of loved ones.
Important Chiropractic Facts
-- Learn chiropractic facts and how they can help you with pain, headaches, & better mobility and range of motion. An excellent addition to elderly health care.
Health, Music and Mood
-- Is there a correlation between health, music and mood? You may already know that music can make us healthier. Get the amazing scoop on why music and Mozart beat the blues and mend the mind and immunity. Music is a wonderful way to enhance elderly health care.
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Special Resources Related To Elderly Health Care
See these other web sites:
Massage Education Guide helps you understand the great health benefits that massage therapy can provide to elderly men and women! Relaxation for our bodies and our minds!
Throughout our lives we experience many changes and losses and it is easy to feel angry, even lash out or become depressed. But there are solutions. See
Anger Management Resources.
For women -- Check out this great resource for women:
A Guide for women over 40, working together for empowerment and good health.