Top Tips in Caring For An Older American
May is Older Americans Month, and this month, we’re joining the ACL in encouraging everyone to #AgeOutLoud. Here at Skilled Wound Care, our providers have extensive experience in working with older patients, and so we’d like to pass along our top four helpful tips!
Skin care matters! As skin ages, it becomes more fragile and more prone to injury. What’s more, the number of sweat glands and other appendages in the skin decrease, which makes the skin of older people even more susceptible to disease. And for anyone with multiple medical conditions, decreased blood flow means an increased potential for pressure sores or infections.
Tip #1: Check the skin regularly to make sure it’s healthy and in good condition!
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Dehydration is a serious issue in older patients, both in terms of their skin care and in terms of their overall health. For many reasons (medical conditions, physical limitations, nutrition, mental state, etc.), some older patients have a difficult time maintaining proper hydration. While this is certainly a serious issue, it’s one that can certainly be prevented with the right attention and process.
Tip #2: Make sure patients are getting enough water, and moisturize skin immediately after bathing to lock in as much hydration as possible.
Excellent nutrition means better health! A lowered metabolic rate and lessened physical activity often means that seniors’ caloric intake is less, and often their diet will be less varied. Because of this, sometimes it’s difficult to achieve a good nutritional balance. Consider the use of supplements if necessary, to ensure that a balanced diet is achieved. And focus on quality, not quantity:
Tip #3: For patients with diminished appetites, choose nutrient-dense foods like peanut butter or avocado to deliver huge nutritional value in small packages.
Fall prevention is much better than treating the results of a fall. In fact, falling (and the injuries that result) is one of the leading causes of death in persons 65 and older, but there are things you can do to help prevent falls (in fact, here’s an excellent - and pretty comprehensive! - list). In addition to prevention, it’s important to communicate regularly with doctors, since some medications can have side effects or interactions that make elderly patients more prone to a fall. But by securing the environment, you’re doing a great job of prevention!
Tip #4: Help prevent falls by providing good lighting, creating non-slip surfaces, and clearing obstacles (like electrical cords or other hazards that could cause tripping).
Celebrate Older Americans Month with us, and help the older Americans in your life #AgeOutLoud!