6 Essential Health Tips for Caregivers
You’re not a trained healthcare provider, yet you find yourself caring for your aging loved one. Providing quality, safe care is possible without having any formal medical training. Follow these 6 essential health tips for caregivers to help you provide the best care for your loved one:
The most important thing to remember in the event of a fall is to not attempt moving the person right away. If you try moving a person who has fallen too quickly, especially an elderly or frail person, you can make any injuries worse. While the person is still lying down, assess him for any obvious injuries and call 911 if you suspect a stroke, broken bone, or head injury. If the fall doesn’t seem serious, assist him with slowly getting up and provide support without pulling or forcing him to move too quickly.
Many older adults can suffer from conditions that make swallowing more difficult, which can lead to choking. To prevent this, make sure food is cut into small pieces or, if necessary, is as soft as possible. If choking does occur, immediately call 911 for assistance. Employ the Heimlich maneuver if you know it in the hopes of dislodging whatever may be stuck.
Cuts & Scrapes
For most cuts and scrapes, treat the wound as you would normally. Clean the cut, apply antibiotic ointment to protect from infection, and cover with a bandage. Remember that many older adults take blood thinners, which means even a minor cut may bleed longer than you would expect. If the wound is deep or does not stop bleeding, seek medical attention.
If you suspect the loved one for whom you are caring is suffering from a heart attack – he or she complains of chest tightness, shortness of breath, or pain in the neck, chest, back, or arms – call 911 immediately. Often, the dispatcher will give verbal first aid instructions over the phone while you wait for an ambulance to arrive. In some cases, aspirin can help minimize the effects of a heart attack even when one is in progress.
Sunstroke & Sunburn
Older adults are more susceptible to fluctuations in temperature than everyone else, so making sure they are properly protected from the sun and heat is essential. When going outside, elderly people should always wear sunscreen, regardless of the temperature. Make sure your loved one’s skin is covered from exposure to the sun while ensuring that any layers are light enough to not cause overheating. Also make sure your loved one is staying well-hydrated while outdoors, as older adults can become dehydrated more quickly than you might expect.
One of the essential duties of a caregiver is making sure that an older adult takes all his or her medications properly. As caregiver, make sure you keep current on all doctor instructions for dosage and medications. Keep on top of how much of each medication is left so you can get them refilled to avoid interruptions in use. If you have concerns that your loved one may accidentally take too much medication, only allow him access to one dose at a time, keeping the remainder locked away.
Compassionate In-Home Care in Central Maryland
At Advanced Nursing & Home Support, we know it isn’t always possible for you to provide all the in-home care your loved one needs. That’s why we employ only qualified, committed caregivers, individually matched to each client. Contact us today to discuss how our skilled professionals can help your family.