The number of elderly citizens (65+) in the US is predicted to be doubled (98 million) by 2060, which will make up for almost 24 percent of the total population. As a result, in all branches of healthcare, there will be a significant rise in the number of elderly patients. That is why it is essential that healthcare service providers establish a thoughtful and understanding relationship with them.
The most important part of caring for elderly patients is loving them. Depending on you relationship with the patient, the other parts of elderly patient care are explained below.
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- Find areas of mutual interest. The non-curious may mistakenly think elderly people seem boring, but remember that you and your interests might be very boring to them as well. Try to open your mind and find out what gives them joy. As a care provider, if you cannot share their interest, at least, you can share their excitement.
- As a care giver, do not judge them by their physical condition. You might think that they are unfit, but it is just the way the life cycle goes. You are born, you are a kid, you have grown into your teen years, adult years, and one day you will be elderly too.
- If you are a close family member, when they want to make tea or something for someone or themselves, you make it and tell her/him “sit down, I will do it for you.”
- If the elderly patient has pains or medical issues, inform his/her doctor about it. If the pains/medical issues are severe enough, it is imperative that you call a hospital and see what they can do for him/her.
- If you are a family member, clean up for her/him as you fit. For example, help them with cleaning home, laundry, or maybe dishes.
- Cook for them (or aid them in making meals). Help them eat healthily and maintain their blood pressure or sugar through diet. Remember, food is the new medicine.
- Listen to their stories. You may find them interesting (like when they were in a war or something along those lines). Find the beauty in the story.
- Take them out of the house. Go where they wish to go. Maybe take them to the movies or to enjoy the local sports event, just like they did when you were young.
- Do not swear or say words which some may find inappropriate; they may not take this lightly.
- Care for their animals. Seniors are emotionally and physically attached to their pets. This may fill them with joy.
- Surprise them with gifts from time-to-time or hold parties for them. It will keep them involved and improve their quality of life.
- Organize and make better their garden/home (if they have one). It will help them live healthily and impact their body, mind, and spirit.
- Help them get used to with the latest technology that can make their life more comfortable and they can stay engaged with things that interest them.
- Let them make their own decisions from time to time. It will make them feel more in control of their life.
Regular engagement with elderly patients can go a long way to improve their quality of life and achieve a better medical outcome. CircleCare is a patient engagement app used by thousands of family members and hospitals to ensure improved quality of life for elderly patients.