Among many other things, life is often not about quantity so much as it is about quality. Good quality of life is crucial for older adults dealing with chronic health problems and significant life changes.
No doubt, hospitals care for elderly patients every day, but few have specialized geriatric medicine preparation. Some of the many obstacles in caring for this patient population include dosing medications safely, preventing accidental falls, providing adequate pain control, and preventing delirium.
An empathetic approach helps develop a relationship and trust between care providers and patients. And when patients feel that their caretaker understands them, outcomes improve a lot. If you are currently working in a healthcare center, there is no doubt you will work with older adults at some time during your career. Here are some tips to help smooth communication and offer the best care possible to elderly patients.
1- Understanding common elder diagnoses
It might not be nice for you to ask people about their medical problems. Asking an antagonistic patient if they have Alzheimer’s disease would not be a great start, mainly if the answer is “no.” Still, understanding a few common symptoms and ailments can offer insight into what your older fellows may be dealing with difficulty.
Suppose you, as a nurse, want to have a firm grip on your patient – mental and physical illnesses. In that case, you need to take your diagnosis game to a different level. You can improve your observations in various ways. Education plays a significant role in diagnosis. And suppose you are a nurse for elderly patients. In that case, the best approach will be moving BSN to MSN online programs, and with higher knowledge, you can improve the lives of older patients in a much better way.
Now, let’s come back to the “disease diagnosis” part. The most common illnesses our elderly patients experience include:
- Dementia: Due to memory loss, dementia patients experience aggression, lack of self-care, paranoia, and agitation.
- Heart conditions: This includes congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and hypertension. Side effects may include lack of physical strength and fatigue.
- Depression: Depression is a prevalent ailment among the elderly. Irritability, feelings of worthlessness, and sadness are all symptoms.
- Delirium: The symptoms of fever include a shortened attention span, extreme mood swings, and shaking.
2- Respect generational variances
“Ugh, kids these days!”
It’s not necessary to be an older adult to find yourself saying that. However, seniors, in particular, may oppose social conventions that teenage people consider normal. It is critical for healthcare workforces whose patients are elderly to respect and understand the difference of opinion. They need to make reasonable concessions to create a more respectful, happier relationship in some instances.
Physical appearance may be the most effortless adjustment a healthcare worker can make. Consider removing facial piercings and covering tattoos with long sleeves. Avoid controversial or political topics. A lively political debate among associates is one thing. But, if you discover yourself on the receiving end of an angry rant, respond with unbiased remarks that support the other person’s right to an opinion.
3- Coordinate family visits
Family visits mean the world to the elderly. It gives them much time to relax. Other than that, taking walks and preparing meals are also great ways to keep connecting.
In the process, it is wise to turn all electronic devices – cell phones, off. If we want to connect with the elderly, we need to slow down. It is suitable for everyone because it gives the elders something to look forward to easily. Furthermore, healthcare providers must monitor elders for new symptoms and memory loss and stay in touch with their families so that proper treatment can take its course.
4- Encourage physical and mental activity
Try to encourage some regular mental and physical activities. Physical therapy exercises, walking, and even clapping hands to music can stimulate blood flow. In addition to this, the elderly need to relieve anxiety and stress and encourage heart health. All of that can get done through regular exercise. It will build stamina, ease depression, and improve the quality of sleep.
5- Improve safety through the organization
Create order inside the home via organizational methods and label sections to help elders navigate their rooms more safely. When their time of care in the hospital has ended, make sure there’s a home safety company at their service to perform a safety assessment to exclude risks in the home. Other than that, advise the family members to maintain a calendar with the caregiver’s schedule and hospital appointments.
6- Financial management
Make sure their financial portfolio is intact. Get in touch with a certified financial planner to review an elder’s assortment and make suggestions to ensure it is well-organized. Ensure good bill pay amenities are in order. Allow one of the family members of the elderly to set up a budget for the hospital expense. It is a good exercise because it reduces “money problems” and sheds light on the bigger picture; taking care of the elderly.
Indeed, our elders have access to some of the best hospitals and doctors across the world. And yet, their quality of life and care still need to be vastly enhanced through these services and tips. All of us can start this work today in the way we approach our aging fellows and what we focus on entirely. By prioritizing quality of life, we can improve the situation.