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7 Essential Health Tips for Caregivers

Even if you don’t have a background in the medical industry, you may still find yourself providing first aid home health care for an aging loved one.  Providing safe, quality first aid for seniors is still possible even without any formal medical training. Follow these 7 essential health tips for first aid Care Providers to help you provide the best care possible:

1. FIRST AID TREATMENT FOR SLIPS AND FALLS FOR THE ELDERLY

The most important thing to remember for applying first aid for falls in elderly loved ones is to not attempt to move the person.  This can make injuries worse, especially if your loved one is elderly or frail.  While the person is still lying down, assess 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 them to slowly get up.  Provide physical support to the person without pulling, forcing, or moving too quickly. 

>>>Resource:  information on falls in the elderly

2. FIRST AID WHEN AN ELDERLY PERSON IS CHOKING

Older adults can suffer from conditions that make swallowing difficult, which can lead to choking.  To prevent this, cut food into small pieces or, if necessary, soften or puree it to make swallowing easier. 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.

>>> Resource: How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver  

3. FIRST AID FOR CUTS AND SCRAPES IN SENIORS

For most cuts and scrapes, treat the wound by cleaning it, apply antibiotic ointment to protect from infection, and cover with a bandage. An important thing to remember when doing any kind of first aid for seniors is 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.

>>> Resource: 5 Steps to Clean a Wound

4. FIRST AID FOR HEART ATTACKS

If you suspect someone you are caring for is suffering from a heart attack – they complain of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, or pain in the neck, chest, back, or arms – call 911 immediately.  Often, the dispatcher will give verbal instructions over the phone until the ambulance arrives.  In some cases, aspirin can help minimize the effects of a heart attack even if it is already in progress.

>>> Resource: Mayo Clinic – Heart Attacks

5. HOW TO AVOID SUNSTROKE AND SUNBURN IN SENIORS

Older adults are more susceptible to fluctuations in temperature, so it is essential to keep them protected from the sun and overheating. The following steps can help you keep your elderly loved ones safe when they are outdoors:

  • Seniors should always wear sunscreen, regardless of the temperature.
  • Make sure your elderly loved one’s skin is covered from sun exposure and that they wear light layers, so they don’t overheat.
  • Make sure the person you are caring for stays well-hydrated as it is very easy for older adults to become dehydrated. 

>>>Resource:  Mayo Clinic—Tips to avoid sunstroke

6. MEDICATION MANAGEMENT IN ELDERLY PEOPLE

One of the essential duties of a caregiver is making sure that an older adult takes all their medications properly.  Keep current on all doctor instructions regarding dosing and medications.  Also, ensure medication is refilled before it runs out to avoid interruptions in use. If you have concerns that your loved one may accidentally take too much medication, keep the remainder locked away so they are only allowed access to one dose at a time. At Advanced Nursed + Home Support, our non-skilled Care Providers can help manage your loved one’s medications while our skilled providers (RNs and LPNs) can assist in the administration of medications. 

>>>Resource:  Mayo Clinic—Medication Management

7. BE PROACTIVE

The CDC has listed additional tips below regarding first aid for Care Providers to help you better care for your elderly loved ones.  Implement these steps to help you avoid situations that may require first aid:

  • Have a step-by-step list posted regarding medication types, what they look like, their dosages, and when they are taken. Use pictures if possible.
  • Keep a list handy of emergency numbers and those for the doctors and pharmacy your loved one uses.  Use large print if the senior you care for struggles with their vision.

Call for help in assembling a first aid kit for elderly family members

Your loved one deserves the best support available, allowing them to remain in their home longer.  At Advanced Nursing + Home Support, our team of experienced Care Providers can offer tips on what to include in a first aid kit for the elderly.  Contact us today to discuss how our skilled professionals can help your family.

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