It is well known that preventing falls is one of the best ways to help seniors avoid injury and a trip to the hospital. But there are there are other risk factors for hospitalization and ways to prevent them. Being in the hospital isn’t fun under any circumstances, but you can help keep your loved one safe at home using the tips outlined below.
1. Risk Factor: Not Following Doctors’ Orders
Seniors who don’t follow their doctors’ orders may be at higher risk for emergency hospitalization, according to a recent survey of nurses. As people age, they may have trouble understanding and following their doctor’s instructions, such as when to take a particular medication.
Possible remedy: Use a medication tracker to help your family member stick to a medication schedule.
2. Risk Factor: Ignoring Common Symptoms
As we age, the aches and pains seem to multiply—sometimes due to chronic health conditions. Most of the time, these twinges don’t represent anything serious, but don’t dismiss it when a senior makes a comment about not feeling well. Too often, an older person who doesn’t feel well one day winds up hospitalized the next.
Possible remedy: Talk with your loved one about health issues that could be putting him or her at risk of hospitalization.
3. Risk Factor: Lack of Physical and Mental Activity
Many factors can turn an active senior into a couch potato. Physical ailments like arthritis to emotional episodes like the loss of a spouse, can trigger a downward spiral of inactivity. Muscle weakness due to disuse can cause poor balance and result in a fall. Depression can lead to cognitive decline and overall poor quality of life.
Possible remedy: Participate in activities with your loved one. Whether it’s putting together a jigsaw puzzle, going for a walk or watching a movie, your senior family member will enjoy both your companionship and the stimulation these activities provide. And be sure to check their doctor before trying any new physical activity.
4. Risk Factor: Poor Diet
Appetite declines in the elderly for a variety of reasons. Medications can cause foods to taste funny. Dentures might make chewing painful. The cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia may cause confusion about how to cook—or even how to eat. Whatever the cause, lack of proper nutrition can land a senior in the hospital.
Possible remedy: Develop a few new, tasty recipes that stimulate your loved one’s interest in food.
Bonus Risk Factor: Unsafe Home Environment
You probably already know that falling is a top reason seniors wind up in the emergency room. As people age their bones tend to become porous and prone to fracture. One “little” fall can cause a fall that leads to a broken shoulder, hip or pelvis. Fall prevention tactics are a crucial weapon in the fight against senior hospitalizations.
Possible remedy: Ask Approved Home Health for assistance performing a home safety inspection. The team at Approved Home Health is ready to offer assistance when you need help caring for your mom, dad or other loved one. Call us today at 941-870-8740 for a complimentary nursing evaluation.