More than one health condition, or comorbidities, can pose a challenge to both senior and caregiver. Seniors who have several health conditions may need to take more medication, have multiple dietary restrictions, and have both physical and psychological deficits. Here are five ways to help your senior loved one manage multiple health conditions.
1. Work with a Nutritionist
If your loved one has several health conditions, chances are he or she will have multiple nutritional needs. For example, if your loved one has renal disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, he or she may need to consume a low-sodium, low-fat, and low-sugar diet. If you’re apprehensive about meal planning for someone who has multiple health conditions, talk to a nutritionist about developing healthy meal plans your loved one will enjoy.
If your loved one needs help preparing nutritious meals every day, consider hiring an in-home caregiver. When considering home care, Austin, TX, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
2. Manage Medications
Aging adults with several health conditions may need to take numerous medications, which can be overwhelming for those with memory impairment or other cognitive deficits. To make things easier for your loved one, help with managing his or her medications. Having to take multiple medications at different times may lead to an overdose or missed medication in a cognitively impaired senior.
3. Anticipate Care Needs
If one of your loved one’s illnesses causes cognitive deficits such as those associated with dementia, you’ll need to be able to anticipate his or her needs. When people have dementia or other cognitive conditions, they may be unable to make their needs known. Anticipating your loved one’s needs may prevent incontinence accidents as well as falls. Frequently asking if your loved one is hungry, thirsty, too hot, too cold, or in pain can keep him or her safe and comfortable. If you’re unable to provide around-the-clock monitoring because of work or other family obligations, consider a home caregiver. Many seniors who have multiple health conditions need to be closely monitored so subtle changes in conditions can be reported to their physician as soon as possible.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
4. Address Pain Issues
Having several health conditions at once can raise the risk for chronic severe pain in seniors. For example, if your loved one has a degenerative bone disease such as osteoporosis coupled with an autoimmune disorder such as multiple sclerosis, he or she may experience extreme pain. Make sure your loved one takes pain medication as prescribed, and if he or she develops new pain, make an appointment with the doctor. Untreated pain can exacerbate existing health conditions such as high blood pressure and may even cause blood glucose levels to rise in diabetics.
5. Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Many health conditions can be managed simply by adopting healthy lifestyle choices. For example, if your loved one has several health conditions, such as arthritis, obesity, and high blood pressure, losing weight can reduce arthritis-related joint pain and lower blood pressure. Also, by adopting a healthier lifestyle through weight loss, smoking cessation, and limiting alcohol consumption, your loved one can reduce the risk for disease-related complications and maintain independence.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Austin, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. To speak with one of our friendly Care Managers, give us a call today at (512) 623-7800.