If you or someone in your life life struggles with a chronic illness, you know that managing it is no walk in the park. What if you suffer from more than one?
Over two-thirds of Americans past the age of 65 suffer from two or more chronic conditions, which increases to three-fourths of the American population past the age of 80. The more they are strapped with, you’ll find that tackling more than one chronic illness is even more of a challenge.
Consider the following when it comes to your strategy:
Create a Daily Routine: Multiple conditions often require multiple medications. By creating a routine with a set schedule for medications and daily activities you will have an easier time remembering what pills to administer when, and what appointments and tasks need to be taken care of each day. Calendars and other reminders are essential.
Listen to Your Loved One: After all, the purpose of caregiving is to make your loved one's life easier, more comfortable and less cumbersome. By asking your loved one what is highest on their priority list: reducing pain, increasing functionality or prolonging life, you will be better able to consult with their doctors to determine where you should devote most of your energy. Their needs should help dictate your schedule and serve to determine which aspects of their care is most important.
Pay Attention to their Vital Signs: Managing more than one chronic condition means you need to be on top of your loved one's vital signs. Take notice of any changes in blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates, temperature and weight. Tracking your loved one's health will better enable you to spot developing or worsening health problems. If you notice any abnormalities, notify their doctor.
Keep Track of Medications: Some of your parent's medications may be causing more harm than good. Two of the most common side effects of elder-prescribed medications include dementia and loss of equilibrium. In order to determine whether the cause of the ailment is actually the medication, keep careful track of all medications including over-the-counter medications and vitamins. When your loved one is prescribed a new medication make sure you ask their doctor all of the important questions: Why are they prescribing it? What's the dose? When should it be taken and how often? What are the side effects? It is also important that you keep their doctor in the know regarding what medications your loved one is currently on, and fill the prescriptions at one pharmacy so it's easier for the pharmacist to spot any possible side effects as a result of the medications interacting.
Help keep Them in Good Spirits: One of the best ways to take your loved one's mind off of their problems is by staying positive and participating in fun activities. Take your loved one on a walk, or on a lunch date to see old friends, go to a movie or take them to play with their grandchildren. Providing them with distractions from their illnesses will make them feel much more at ease and relaxed than most medications can.
To help give you more peace of mind, with a LifeFone medical alert device, you can add medical reminders such as a reminder for them to take their medications.
Having a plan and a set schedule will make your caregiving duties much easier and much more rewarding. Suffering from multiple illnesses is not easy on your loved one; by making sure they are comfortable and properly medicated you can make a world of difference.