If you’re worried about an elderly loved one’s ability to care for themselves, now may be a good time to step in and offer your support. For your help to be effective, involve the elderly person in this conversation, as they’re the ones who know what kind of assistance they need.
They may need help managing their medication, or perhaps they could benefit from extra support running errands or making doctor appointments. Alternatively, if the level of care they need is something you can’t offer, look for elderly care solutions in your area. Here are a few pointers to help you create an effective care plan for the older adult in your life.
1. Care Consultation
Quality elder care living solutions are an important part of senior care, so if you need help finding senior care solutions or a reliable caregiver for your elderly loved one, a senior care consultant can help.
Also referred to as geriatric care managers, home consultants, senior care consultants, care coordinators, or elder care consultants, geriatric care managers are trained professionals who help older adults and their family members access elder care facilities.
Through a senior care consultation, you can determine what type of senior care—also known as an assisted living community, independent living, memory care, skilled nursing facility, or continuing care retirement community—living facility your loved one could benefit from. For instance, if your family member is experiencing memory problems, a home care consultant can provide the names and contact information for local Alzheimer’s dementia care providers.
2. Dental Care
Oral health problems in older people aren’t uncommon. Most of these dental problems result from untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, or a chronic health condition. Fortunately, several dental treatments are available to remedy tooth loss, and a compassionate dentist can offer guidance based on your unique needs.
Dental procedures to manage tooth loss could include removable or flexible options such as dentures, or fixed options such as implants or partial dentures. If you need help deciding between implants vs. dentures, ask your dentist to explain the pros and cons of both procedures to ensure you’re making an informed decision. The cost and recovery time of each dental procedure should also be discussed.
If dental discomfort is a constant issue for you, ask your doctor about dental implants. This is because while dentures might provide you with a faster way to get your full smile back, they may take some time to get used to. Most dentures also have a lot of slippages, meaning that they may move around in your mouth while you speak, and will require denture adhesive to keep them in place.
On the other hand, implants are comfortable to use because they fit comfortably and require no adhesives to keep them in place. The fact that dental implants function like natural teeth also means that you can enjoy some of your favorite foods without worrying about your chewing ability. What’s more, they preserve your jawbone and natural facial appearance.
3. Medication Management
Most older adults may have several prescription medications that they may need to take at different points in the day. Unfortunately, due to the memory impairment that often accompanies old age, sticking to their prescription regimen may prove difficult for some seniors. This failure to take the medication as prescribed could mean that the medication could be failing to serve its intended purpose.
If you’re the elderly adult’s primary caretaker, talk to their doctor to understand how often they should be taking their medication. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions regarding potential side effects of the medication, the specific condition it manages, and alternatives in case the prescribed medication is out of stock.
A pillbox labeled with each day of the week is a great way to help the seniors in your life manage their medication. A dosage schedule or chart with detailed descriptions of each pill kept nearby can also help them remember when to take their medication.