How To Manage Chronic Illness in The Elderly
Chronic illnesses are common in older adults; 90% have at least one chronic ailment that requires constant monitoring. Arthritis, heart disease, dementia, and hypertension are some examples of these medical problems. The only way to deal with these conditions is to know how to manage them. Their management requires a multifaceted approach, and you’ll soon discover why this is so. If your elderly parent lives with you or in a care facility, these management tips can be helpful.
- Regular medical check-ups and monitoring
Regular health checks are necessary for everyone, but even more so among older people. They are essential for early detection of chronic illness deterioration and effective management if diagnosed. These visits must be scheduled monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, depending on the severity of the chronic illness. The doctor or specialist can adjust or replace medications if the illness isn’t properly managed. In other situations, the primary care doctor or the geriatric specialist will recommend some lifestyle changes to help manage the condition more appropriately. The exciting part is that early detection of any deterioration helps cut costs and often requires less invasive treatment methods. For example, early detection of arthritis may prevent surgery in the future, and it’s the same for other chronic illnesses. Regular check-ups and monitoring are proactive ways to manage an elderly person with a chronic illness. Moreover, it helps save them from the additional stress of long-term management of such conditions.
- Assistive devices for enhanced living
An assistive aid like a hearing device can be a lifesaver among older adults. They improve the quality of life among seniors and help them reconnect with family and loved ones. The main aim of assistive devices is to help people interact better with the world around them. Hearing loss is prevalent among the elderly and is often why many withdraw from social settings. The difficulty in following conversations or contributing to them can be a major put-off for older adults or anyone with impaired hearing. Exacerbated feelings of isolation are never good for someone in their advanced years. Thankfully, assistive devices help bridge that gap and make older adults more engaged in society. Whether your aging parents live with you or independently at home in a care facility, you can rest assured that assistive devices contribute to an enriched quality of life. The type of chronic illness will determine the right assistive device to be used. Therefore, it is always advisable for a healthcare professional or geriatric specialist to diagnose and recommend before purchasing any assistive device.
- Regular exercise and a good diet
Older adults can eat whatever they want, but the watchword is moderation. A healthy lifestyle is vital for managing chronic illnesses, especially in the elderly. That is why you can never overlook regular exercise and good nutrition. Admittedly, some exercises are not ideal for an older adult with heart disease. Fortunately, a specialist can recommend tailored exercises that avoid putting undue pressure on the heart muscles. It is the same with diet, but moderation is key.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can help effectively manage chronic illness. The truth is that many chronic illnesses are better managed with a change in diet and an active lifestyle. Diabetes and high blood pressure are classic examples of chronic illnesses that improve with regular exercise and proper diet.
These strategies are effective and widely used to manage chronic ailments in older adults.