Elderly Health and Personal Care Needs
Elderly health and personal care may become more challenging and having to accept assistance with day-to-day tasks can be intimidating. You may no longer be able to assist or are faced with obstinate behavior when helping your loved one with his/her personal care. Older age brings several changes, and these changes can influence practically every part of life. The changes may prompt the requirement for the elderly to receive extra assistance.
Health professionals at Halo Health Care say that delivering personal care to the elderly should support the desires and objectives of each individual who requests the service. When providing personal care, you should focus on what the elderly would like to do to maintain their independence.
Personal care refers explicitly to the supervision and assistance with “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL), while developing a sense of positivity and friendship with the elderly.
Older adults may require assistance with activities of daily living including:
The dressing is a basic yet important part of everyday life. However, dressing and undressing can pose complications and safety hazards for some elderly. Dressing and undressing are one of the most crucial personal care requirements for the elderly and assisting an elderly getting ready for the day and changing into night clothes before bed should be carried out properly. If your loved one isn’t able to get dressed and undressed all by himself/herself, it is better to hire a professional caregiver. You may not be used to seeing people’s unclothed bodies every day.
#2 Continence and Toileting Care
Some elders are mobile enough to perform their daily toileting requirements with ease. However, elders suffering from certain health complications may find it to be a daunting task. Hence, providing continence care and attending to everyday toileting requirements is crucial. Assisting with toileting requirements may range from support to helping elders during the entire process. However, in the case of continence care, it is recommended to provide professional care as there may be complications, especially with sanitation and hygiene.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in the wellbeing and physical health of the elderly. However, the nutrition requirements for the elderly vary depending on their age. Just like newborns and toddlers have different dietary requirements than teenagers, nutritional requirements for older adults are much different than that of younger adults. Older adults are more prone to malnutrition, and this may be because appetite and metabolism slow down with age and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients decreases with age. Healthy eating is vital as nutrition impact elderly health in several ways including
- Muscle and bone health – maintaining posture, flexibility, strength, mobility, and preventing falls and fractures
- Strengthening the immune system – promoting proper healing
- Managing chronic illnesses – controlling diseases like dementia, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure
- Brain function – improving memory and cognitive ability
- Organ function – improving digestion, liver, kidneys, and eyes functions
According to health professionals, common illnesses among older adults like neurological conditions, pain, joint problems, muscle weakness, and other ailments can hinder mobility. So, as a caregiver, you must work on improving the mobility of your loved one. Doctors advise the use of transfer assist belts like gait belts in case the elderly is partially mobile. Moreover, seniors can improve mobility through simple exercises like walking on the heel to toe, or back leg raises. A brisk walk 3-4 times a week can help improve balance and ultimately promote healthy living. Further, investing in comfortable, high-quality shoes that fit correctly cannot be overstated. On the other hand, as mentioned, utilizing walking aids play a crucial role in overcoming the impact of decreased mobility in older adults that reduces the risk of falls.
#5 Bathing and Hygiene
Older adults, especially with declining mental health or dementia often begin to neglect their hygiene and personal care. Elders may find tasks like washing and bathe a bit intimidating because of their conditions. However, personal care and hygiene are critical for maintaining good health. Make sure that the bathroom is safe for the elderly to use comfortably as the fear of slipping or falling is enough to prevent an elderly from using a bath. Senior-proof your bathroom with handrails, raised toilet seats, and good lighting among others. Most importantly, handle hygiene activities sensitively. For older adults who need help with bathing and washing, remember the importance of respect and dignity.
The best way to promote satisfaction and happiness in the elderly is by making sure that they look excellent and well-groomed. Ensure that your loved one has all the essentials required for his/her daily grooming needs.
If you think that you will not be able to provide the assistance and support required, it is advised to hire a professional healthcare provider. It is all about the comfort and health of your loved one, so make sure it is professionally executed.