The elders are the roots of our family trees. During their sunset years, as a caregiver, the priority is to ensure they have their best time. From a wellness perspective, enhancing the quality of life of our loved ones involves ensuring their physical, mental, and emotional health is optimal.
Focusing on their overall wellness ensures they live a happy and healthy life. If you are unsure where to start, you are in luck. This guide will explore various ways to enhance elder care from a wellness perspective. Follow the checklist to ensure your loved one receives the best care.
Know Where the Closest Health Clinics Are Located
Due to dwindling immunity, older adults are prone to health problems that require urgent care. Therefore, as a caregiver, you must know the location of the nearest health clinics and urgent care centers. You know where you can quickly access immediate medical attention during an emergency.
Quick access to a health clinic can be life-saving when you need an urgent medical issue or emergency. Elders may require immediate attention for conditions like heart attacks, strokes, falls, or severe infections. In such situations, you don’t want to start finding medical facilities, wasting precious time. Knowing where to seek help in advance leads to better outcomes.
Besides quick emergency access, the information helps with preventative care. Access to nearby health clinics makes regular check-ups and preventative care more convenient for elders. You can easily schedule and attend appointments, enabling early detection and management of health conditions.
Moreover, knowing a close health clinic can help monitor chronic conditions. Many older adults have chronic health conditions that require ongoing management. Being close to health clinics allows for more consistent monitoring and the adjustment of treatment plans as needed, improving the quality of life for seniors with such conditions.
Support Your Loved One With Their Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a common issue among older adults that significantly affects their overall wellness. In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 20.9% (51.6 million) of U.S. adults experienced chronic pain. They also noted that 6.9% (17.1 million persons) lived with high-impact chronic pain. Such pain can limit a person’s ability to perform daily activities, leading to feelings of hopelessness and isolation. Therefore, as a caregiver, you must support your loved one through their chronic pain management journey.
You can show support by encouraging them to have a healthy lifestyle. Encourage them to maintain a balanced diet, get regular exercise within their comfort and ability, and ensure they get enough sleep. These habits can create a better wellness perspective and soothe chronic pain.
You can also assist them with their daily tasks. Simple tasks like cooking, shopping, and cleaning can be challenging for someone with chronic pain. Helping them with these tasks reduces the physical strain on their body and lessen their pain. Additionally, if they have a medical prescription for chronic pain management, make sure they are taking it as directed.
Mental and emotional support is equally important. Chronic pain can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness. Be a listening ear for your loved one and encourage them to express their emotions. You can also help them find support groups or therapy options if needed.
Encourage Your Loved One to Attend PT Appointments
Physical therapy(PT) is a crucial pain management technique for individuals with chronic pain. This treatment technique helps improve flexibility, strength, physical function, and overall wellness perspective. However, according to the National Library of Medicine, only 43% of therapy participants adhere to the program to completion.
Of the remaining 57%, 31.7% discontinued the treatment due to accessibility and logistical issues. Another 13.2% of participants discontinued without formal discharge due to significant improvements in their pain levels, while 8.3% did so due to little or no improvement in their condition.
These levels of discontinuity show just how much it is for elders living with chronic pain to feel discouraged from continuing with treatment. Therefore, it is essential to encourage your loved one to attend their appointments regularly. You can take various measures to ensure your loved one complies with their treatment.
One way is by providing transportation if they have difficulty commuting. You can also help them schedule appointments and remind them of upcoming sessions. Additionally, you can offer to accompany them during their physical therapy visits to provide emotional support.
Furthermore, it is crucial to celebrate the progress your loved one makes in their treatment. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to continue therapy and achieve better results. In the face of significant improvement, you should also remind them that completing the entire course of treatment is essential for long-term pain management.
Discuss What’s Involved With Different Surgeries
In some cases, physical therapy may not be enough to manage elders with chronic pain. In such cases, surgery may be necessary. There are different types of surgeries used to treat chronic pain, depending on the cause and severity of the condition.
One common type of surgery is bone graft surgery. According to the National Library of Medicine, 2.2 million orthopedic bone graft procedures are reported annually worldwide. This type of surgery is commonly used to treat fractures, non-healing bone defects, or spinal fusion. It involves transplanting a small piece of bone from one body part to repair or replace a damaged bone. Besides transplanting natural bone, doctors might also use synthetic or composite bone grafts.
While surgery is highly effective, it has risks and may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, discussing with your loved one and their healthcare provider the procedure, potential risks and benefits, and post-surgery care is essential. Understanding what’s involved in different surgeries can help alleviate any fears or concerns. It can also help make informed decisions about your loved one’s wellness perspective.
Look Into Different Skin Options
Skin care services are another vital elder care approach to improving health and wellness. Our skin becomes thinner, less elastic, and more fragile as we age, leading to dryness, bruising, pressure ulcers, or bedsores. Therefore, to prevent these complications, it’s crucial to understand the different skin options available and how they can benefit your loved one.
Regarding skincare for seniors, it’s important to prioritize gentle and hydrating products. These include using mild soap and lukewarm water when bathing, avoiding harsh chemicals or lotions that can dry out the skin, and applying a good quality moisturizer daily. Look for moisturizers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated. Fragrance-free options are also good for avoiding potential irritation.
Encourage them to use sunscreen to protect their skin from sun damage. These simple steps can help prevent common skin issues in elders.
Moreover, cosmetic skin treatments like chemical peels or laser therapy can help improve the appearance of aging skin. These treatments can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and scarring. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before pursuing any cosmetic procedures for your loved one.
Ensure That Your Loved One’s HVAC System Works Properly
A functional HVAC system significantly enhances your family members’ comfort and well-being. It helps prevent health issues related to extreme temperatures or poor air quality, including hyperthermia and heat stroke. On the contrary, a malfunctioning HVAC system can cause respiratory issues, dry skin, and heatstroke. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults, especially those above 65 years, are more prone to heat-related illnesses than anyone else.
Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that a professional regularly maintains and services the HVAC system by changing air filters, inspecting leaks or clogs, and checking for proper ventilation. If you don’t have an HVAC system, consider investing in one. Being proactive about HVAC installation and maintenance can help prevent potential health risks and ensure your loved one remains comfortable in their home.
Remodel the Bathroom to Be More Accessible
The bathroom can pose a significant risk for older adults, particularly those with mobility issues. The wet and slippery bathroom surfaces and limited mobility increase the risk of falls and injuries. In the U.S., about five million elders reported sustaining injuries that required medical intervention and restricted their daily activities annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The National Council on Aging also reports that over 14 million Americans aged 65 and older suffer falls yearly. One solution to these accidents is to remodel the bathroom to make it more accessible. Bathroom remodeling for an improved elder wellness perspective includes adding grab bars for support and balance. Also, installing a shower stool, accessible toilet seat or raised toilet, and non-slip flooring can greatly improve the bathroom’s safety. These modifications reduce the risk of accidents and promote independence and dignity for aging individuals.
Moreover, consider installing a walk-in tub or a zero-threshold shower with hand-held shower heads for convenience. Additionally, bathroom remodeling can provide opportunities for incorporating aging-in-place features such as wider doorways, lower countertops, and lever-style door knobs. An accessible bathroom means less reliance on caregivers, giving seniors more control and privacy in their personal care routines.
Visit the Dentist Regularly With Your Loved One
Oral health is one of the most crucial yet overlooked aspects of the elderly care wellness perspective. According to West Health, 19% of older adults live with untreated tooth decay, and about 60% of all seniors in the U.S. have periodontal gum disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that 96% of all U.S. seniors aged 65 years and older have had a tooth cavity.
Older adults struggle with basic oral hygiene tasks due to physical limitations or cognitive decline. Therefore, as a caregiver, you must ensure your loved one visits the dentist regularly for general dentistry check-ups. Regular check-ups are crucial for maintaining good oral health and preventing serious issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and malnutrition.
Furthermore, regular dental check-ups allow for addressing underlying oral health concerns before they escalate into serious issues. The dentist can also recommend proper denture care or other necessary devices for your loved one. Prioritizing regular dental check-ups for your loved one can significantly improve their overall health and quality of life.
Consider Cosmetic Dental Options
Aside from general dentistry, take things a notch higher and consider cosmetic dental options for older adults. Due to age, senior citizens’ teeth tend to fall off, become stained, chipped, or decay. These issues can affect your loved one’s ability to perform basic functions like chewing food properly. It can also disfigure their physical appearance, significantly impacting their self-confidence.
One of the best ways to combat these issues from a wellness perspective is cosmetic dentistry. In fact, according to the National Institutes for Health, 15.8% to 62.6% of people aged 15 to 74 years require cosmetic dental care. Cosmetic dentist services include teeth whitening, which can restore your loved one’s teeth to their natural color. A procedure like dental implants can provide a permanent solution for missing teeth, filling the gaps and restoring the function of natural teeth. Veneers are another popular option that can improve the appearance of chipped or misaligned teeth, providing your loved one with a beautiful smile.
The benefits of cosmetic dentistry go beyond aesthetics. These procedures can also improve oral health by correcting bite issues, reducing the risk of gum disease, and preventing further damage to teeth. Your loved one deserves to look and feel their best, and cosmetic dentistry can help achieve that.
Rent a Cart for Your Loved One While They Golf
Another way to enhance your elder care wellness perspective is by incorporating recreational activities into your loved one’s daily routine. Golfing, in particular, is an excellent exercise for older adults, providing numerous physical and mental benefits. However, due to age-related mobility issues or other health concerns, your loved one may struggle with carrying their golf bag around the course.
This can dampen the fun and discourage them from playing. Consider renting a golf cart for your loved one while they play to combat this issue. Not only will this make their golfing experience more comfortable and enjoyable, but it also promotes physical activity and social interaction. Additionally, utilizing golf carts prevents straining their back and joints, reducing the risk of injury. This small gesture can greatly improve your loved one’s quality of life and contribute to their overall wellness.
Implementing these elder care tips from a wellness perspective will help your loved one maintain a healthy lifestyle and enhance their overall well-being. However, it’s important to remember that each individual is unique, so customize these suggestions to suit your loved one’s needs and preferences. Remember to prioritize their physical, mental, and emotional health by creating a supportive and nurturing environment. With proper care and attention, your loved one can continue to thrive and age gracefully.