As we age our bodies slow down and require special care and consideration. Along with our bodies, our minds and mental faculties deteriorate and as caregivers we need to be cognizant of these changes and pay special attention to the needs of our aging relatives.
Diabetes, heart conditions, cancer or Alzheimer's can impact your relatives and lead to the inability to live comfortably & safely alone. There are options available to help your relatives continue to age in place and they involve age proofing the home as well as providing a home medical alert system to keep them safe in the event of a health emergency or trip or fall accident.
There are many cases where special health concerns will arise as part of the aging process and it’s up to the caregiver and family members to remain vigilant. Steps can be taken to prevent or respond to medical emergencies that may befall your elderly relatives, and they are:
- Make certain your relatives get regular health exams and check-ups. If there is a health concern, make certain they don't wait too long to seek medical care. Caught early, most issues can be successfully treated.
- Get up and get moving. Regular exercise keeps both the body and the mind healthy. Moving around will also increase independence and life expectancy as well as keeping the bones and muscles stronger which could reduce the risk of broken bones. Walking, gardening, yoga or even riding a stationary bike are all good, low impact ways to stay active.
- Eat nutritious meals and supplement it with calcium and vitamin D. Don't forget to check with a physician before adding any supplements to the diet.
- Limit alcohol consumption as it could increase the risk of a fall. Alcohol may also have an effect on medications being taken.
- Emergency phone numbers, doctors and family members should be kept near every telephone in the house and should be written in large print. Additionally it is imported that loved ones phone numbers be updated with “ICE” (in case of) notifications. Supplying your aging relative with a personal medical alert device is also an ideal way to make certain they can summon help immediately.
As a caregiver, you should trust your instincts if the senior in your life appears to be acting differently. If they are in pain or acting out of character, urge them to see their physician.