Every year, thousands of seniors end up in the hospital because of accidents at home, medication mismanagement, or physical or mental health issues. Fortunately, many of these hospital admissions are unnecessary and preventable. Here are five tips to prevent unnecessary senior hospitalizations for your senior loved one:
Follow the doctor’s orders
Although many seniors develop a special bond with their primary care physician and other healthcare professionals, they don’t always follow their directions. In addition to sometimes missing appointments, they don’t follow prescription schedules, schedule follow-up appointments they were advised to have, or follow dietary restrictions and recommendations.
Not following these instructions can land a senior in the hospital. To prevent this, do your best to go with your loved one when they have an appointment with a healthcare provider so you can make sure all directions are followed. If you can’t make it to the appointment, speak with the doctor or nurse by phone afterward (a HIPAA release form will need to be signed) and find out what orders were given to your loved one.
Don’t ignore symptoms
Many seniors end up in the Emergency Room or being admitted because they didn’t take action when they started experiencing symptoms of a medical illness or event. They sometimes deny that something is happening to them physically or mentally, or they say nothing because they don’t want to bother their children or spouse.
Advise your senior loved one to pay attention to symptoms and let someone they trust know what’s happening. Chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and other symptoms need to be addressed immediately.
Help your loved one stay active physically and mentally
Many illnesses and hospitalizations are caused by physical ailments that could have been prevented by simple exercise. For example, thirty minutes of walking five times a week can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
Poor mental health can also cause hospitalization. Help prevent depression by keeping your loved one active and engaged mentally. Encourage them to keep learning through reading, doing crossword puzzles, or learning a new language or instrument.
Help them maintain a healthy diet
Many older adults become ill because they don’t eat well. You can help your senior maintain good health through a balanced diet of lean meats, chicken, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Also, help keep their pantry and shelves stocked with unprocessed foods and healthy snacks.
Also, make sure they stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to physical and mental fatigue, resulting in a senior taking a fall or having an accident requiring hospitalization.
Keep them safe at home
One of the primary reasons seniors are hospitalized is due to injuries suffered by falls or accidents. Help your loved one avoid mishaps by keeping their home safe. For example, install grab bars in bathrooms, make sure stairways are well lit and have handrails, and keep walkways inside the home free from clutter and furniture that can cause trips and falls.
Rehabilitation Care from First In Care
If your senior loved one has been hospitalized, First In Care can help them recover. Our skilled caregivers can help prevent hospital readmissions through:
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Escorted transportation to necessary follow-up appointments
- Medication management and supervision
- Meal preparation and light housekeeping
- And much more
Contact us today to learn more about our home care services and rates in Bradenton and Manatee County. We take pride in helping seniors age safely and gracefully in the place they most want to be – their home.