Over the years, the physical state of people deteriorates and although they are in good health, they require greater attention to maintain their health both physically, mentally and emotionally; To learn more about elderly care, what it consists of and how it is provided, we encourage you to continue reading this article.
Comprehensive care of the elderly includes a series of services, systems and methods aimed at ensuring the psycho-educational, socio-cultural and physical-therapeutic well-being of the elderly; they also help to prolong their independence as much as possible, in addition to providing them with a comfortable life.
However, the ideal is to understand this comprehensive care as a coherent, cohesive and harmonious synthesis of multiple methods and actions, rather than as a simple sum of services; For this it is necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy both at the family, social and governmental level. In this way we will be able to provide our grandparents with a dignified old age.
It should be emphasized that not all cases are the same, so it is necessary to pay special attention to the needs, both personal and social, of each person in particular; the latter, in order to identify those who only need some help to carry out their daily activities, those who may require professional assistance or the care of a nursing home or retirement home.
What is the importance of Elderly Care?
The state in which we will spend our old age will be a direct result of the actions or omissions that we carry out throughout our lives; however, it is also true that older adults require greater care in order to ensure their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Providing the elderly with the necessary care and attention in each of these aspects results in lower mortality rates from diseases such as coronary heart disease, colon or breast cancer, hypertension, stroke, or type two diabetes.
It also helps them to have a better function of the heart and lungs; they also acquire greater muscle mass and better body composition, while their functional health is also better, and they have a lower risk of falls.
Likewise, it reduces the levels of depression and its cognitive functions are preserved in a better way; in addition, it reduces the risk of severe or moderate functional limitations.
What care does an older person need?
According to the “Manual for the care of dependent elderly people and those with loss of autonomy,” published by the Ministry of Health, comprehensive care for grandparents must take into consideration a series of actions in favor of their well-being.
In principle, it says that we must integrate the principles of autonomy and well-being into their care; Likewise, we must know the characteristics of aging and the diseases that are most common in them; it is also necessary to have knowledge about its pharmacological treatment.
Similarly, even family caregivers need to know what vital signs are, their importance, and how they are measured; in the case of older people with dementia, they should know their most common behaviors, as well as their care.
For its part, the Ministry of Public Health, in its “Manual for caregivers of the elderly person; emphasizes the importance of communication with the elderly to understand their emotions and spirituality; It also considers that their care must take into account their integral hygiene, as well as their needs for mobility and comfort.
How to make a plan of care for an elderly person?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends creating a written care plan that includes the person’s health conditions; it should also include the treatments and medicines you are taking and emergency contacts. Finally, you must give precise instructions on what to do in the event of hospitalization or death.
Developing a written plan, which is updated each year, can help us reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations; in the same way, it can improve the medical treatment of people with a chronic disease and improve the living conditions of our grandparents.
To do this, the first thing is to have an in-depth talk between the grandparent and the person who will take care of them; It will also be necessary to speak with your treating doctor to find out your health status and the treatment you are receiving; Finally, it is necessary to also discuss the needs of the caregiver, in order to avoid anxiety and depression problems that may arise in them.
Recommendations for the Care of the Elderly
Due to the multiple combinations of conditions and needs that a single older adult may have, it is not possible to provide a single specific plan; However, once the steps in the previous section have been carried out, a series of recommendations can be implemented to improve your quality of life:
- Prevent falls …
- Reviewing the medications they take to find out which ones can cause dizziness or drowsiness.
- Performing exercises that increase balance, strength, and flexibility.
- Removing sources of risk in the home.
- Doing physical activity…
- Helping you perform multimodal exercises with an emphasis on strength and endurance.
- Setting daily goals for physical activation.
- Prevent severe cognitive decline …
- Monitoring their level of consciousness through constant communication with them and evaluating their degree of attention.
- Offering them cognitive stimulation activities, even if they have not been diagnosed with any impairment.
- Promote your psychological well-being …
- Proposing achievable goals and things they can or want to do.
- Stimulating their social interactions.
- Carrying out activities in which they exercise short-term memory.
- Maintain sensory functions …
- Carrying out periodic examinations of the hearing and the vision, especially.
- Regularly carrying out personal hygiene and hygiene measures.
- Coping with problems associated with aging such as urinary incontinence …
- Performing bladder training exercises.
- Implementing scheduled times to go to the bathroom.
- Controlling fluids and diet in general.
- Support caregivers …
- Offering psychological interventions through a professional.
- Supporting them in caring for their grandparent so that they can take time for themselves.
- Sharing useful and relevant information with them .
Who should provide Elderly Care?
Virtually all the laws of the world agree that the state must provide health services and care options for the elderly; However, it is in the family that the care and attention of the grandparents and grandmothers falls.
In this sense, more and more countries include in their legislation the duty or even the obligation of the family to take care of elderly relatives , most of them parents or grandparents; although in countries like Colombia, for example, this also extends to uncles in cae they do not have children or their legitimate descendants cannot take care of them. China has taken this precept further, with administrative sanctions for those who fail to provide adequate care for their elderly relatives.
However, recent amendments to the law establish that the family must also fulfill its social function of providing “constant and permanent” care to the elderly; Likewise, it makes them responsible for maintaining and caring for their quality of life, as well as providing them with the means for their care, attention and comprehensive development.