As your loved ones age, they may require greater care than what you have the time or energy to provide. Senior care – sometimes called “eldercare” – is a service which fulfills the unique needs of senior citizens, in their own homes or in assisted living facilities. Cincinnati senior care facilities, like the Health Care Management Group, address the challenges often faced by older people, allowing them to age in a dignified manner. It’s important to choose a type and place of care appropriate to each patient’s needs.
Dealing with Dementia
Dementia is a condition in which a person’s mental faculties undergo persistent degeneration, characterized by changes in personality, poor reasoning and memory loss. Most dementia patients are over the age of 65.
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, followed by frontotemporal lobar degeneration – a pathological process which affects part of the brain – and Huntington’s disease – a genetic disorder which causes behavioral problems and a decline in mental function. It’s best to opt for facilities that specialize in all forms of memory care for seniors and has experience in the field to give them the most comfortable stay.
Facilities should be safe and quiet to avoid accidents and overstimulation. Small, home-like units are preferable to large, institutional settings – the former encourages serenity; the latter is impersonal, monotonous and may cause residents to become confused. Staff should be patient and experienced in treating people with dementia
Look for a facility with measures in place to prevent patients from wandering out into the street, such as security bracelets and automatic locking doors, as well as procedures to help confused residents exit the building in case of emergencies.
A dementia patient can be strongly affected by their surroundings. Buildings which are decorated in plain, bold colors are less confusing than a facility with busy patterns on the walls. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, facilities should be easy to navigate. Make sure bathrooms are clean, with recognizable signage for residents, and that staff are trained in assisting patients use the toilet.
When your Loved One is Depressed
Clinical depression is a serious mental condition which affects mood, cognition, sleep, appetite and even cardiovascular health. A senior may be more susceptible to the effects of depression than a younger person.
If you have a loved one with depression who needs to move into an assisted living facility, look for one with a caring, compassionate and experienced staff.
Ask if the facility has programs that help depressed patients feel better, like counseling, group activities, outdoor recreation, games, classes or musical performances. A person’s state of mind can have a powerful impact on their physical health. Restoring enthusiasm and joy can significantly improve an elderly person’s wellbeing and quality of life.
Look for facilities which provide regular, delicious and nutritious meals your loved one will enjoy. Staff should be well-trained in dispensing prescribed psychiatric medications and monitoring side effects and interactions.
It’s an unfortunate fact that as people age they may become more injury-prone, due to weaker muscles, brittle bones and avoidance of physical activity. Sometimes, injuries may be severe enough to end a senior’s independence, forcing them to rely on a caregiver or take up residence in an assisted living facility.
When a person is injured, it’s important they begin a rehabilitative program as soon as possible, to restore strength, balance and coordination. Without appropriate intervention, seniors are at high risk of losing physical function after injury.
Look for a facility which uses approved therapeutic equipment, and that the staff is certified in physical and/or occupational therapy. Physical therapists can teach exercises to increase muscle mass, function and coordination, help elderly patients regain their mobility, posture and stability, and manipulate soft tissue to decrease pain and improve range of motion.
Occupational therapists help seniors regain independence, teaching them safer ways to move, dress, eat, groom and bathe. Occupational therapy also helps patients strengthen and stabilize joints and learn to use adaptive techniques and technology.
Caring for Seniors with COPD
COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – is a progressive respiratory disorder that makes breathing difficult. Such diseases are the third-most common cause of death in those over the age of 65. Symptoms of COPD include wheezing, persistent coughs, shortness of breath, weakness and increased susceptibility to lung infections.
It may be possible for a senior with COPD to be cared for at home, but as the disease progresses, the needs of patients often become greater, necessitating the level of care available in an assisted living facility.
Look for a facility that takes a multifaceted approach to caring for COPD patients, including regular immunizations, nutritious meals, programs which assist in quitting smoking, and pulmonary rehabilitation – a comprehensive program consisting of carefully monitored exercise, education and counseling.