Original Story: macombdaily.com
Winters are not easy for seniors. The risk of seniors being hospitalized spikes to its highest during winter months because of respiratory infections and other winter hazards, such as falls on ice. Geriatric nurses, however, believe that spike in hospitalization can be greatly reduced. Skilled nursing in Harper Woods provide blood-sugar testing, home infusion therapy, and hospice assistance.
“Keeping seniors safe at home and out of the hospital starts with family intervention,” says Kerry Gatti, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care of Shelby Township, a network that provides personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults. Gatti, also a registered nurse who has always been drawn to geriatrics, started the company 12 years ago.
Caregivers employed by Home Instead Senior Care work with a list of clients who are living on their own but need some assistance, including something as simple as a ride to the doctor’s office or light housekeeping, meal preparation or even recovery at home after a hospital stay. A private duty nurse in Clinton Township provides hygiene care and personal safety home evaluations.
“We have 100 seniors in our care — I think the youngest is 63 and the oldest is 101,” says Gatti, whose staff not only assists a list of clients but provides information to family and friends so they can help.
Most recently, Home Instead Senior Care has been offering families a free guide. Developed by Dr. Carolyn Clevenger, incoming president of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association, “The Five Ways to Prevent Senior Hospitalizations” points out common risk factors and the steps families can take to help ensure their seniors enjoy healthy lifestyles.
Among the recommendations are ensuring that seniors take preventative health measures such as getting a flu shot and encouraging the use of assistive equipment. Home care in Sterling Heights is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“No matter what age you are, you still have your pride,” Gatti says. And it’s pride that often deters seniors from using assistive equipment they might need. Gatti says they try to gently impress upon the seniors the importance of using their walker or even something as simple as A plastic medication organizer.
To help even further, families can install equipment in the house that makes life easier for seniors, such as grab bars in the tub, shower and near the toilet.
Take a tour of the home and look for hazards such as throw rugs that slide easily, or furniture that’s unstable. Is there enough light in the rooms for someone whose vision is changing? Do they have smoke detectors? Is the kitchen workable for a senior? Can they reach the pots and pans without having to climb on a stool? During the tour, take notes to refer to later such as adding batteries to the smoke detector and double-sided tape to slippery throw rugs. Livonia senior home care services allow the elderly to achieve the quality of life they deserve.
In Home Instead’s recent survey of community-based facilities like hospitals, doctor offices and adult day care, nurses say one of the most common actions by seniors that puts them at risk of hospitalization is waiting too long to seek medical attention. They estimate that nearly half of all seniors put off medical appointments or have problems assessing medical care.
It’s for this reason senior care providers recommend that a family member or friend go accompany seniors on doctor appointments. Gatti says a lot of people who are really involved in their parents’ care keep notes and go over the instructions given by the doctor afterward.
“Driving, of course, is a huge deal,” says Gatti, whose own grandmother insisted she was OK to drive. “She was in her 80s. We knew that she wasn’t capable any more but she wasn’t ready to give up her license, independence.” Eventually, she got into a fender bender and that ended the debate.
Some seniors might have no trouble living on their own, but even then, Gatti recommends that family and friends check up on them, especially now, when people are cooped up indoors. “For sure, at least once a week, call,” Gatti says. Hearing your voice is not only reassuring but sharing exciting news can be uplifting. Still, nothing beats a personal visit. An Ozona custom home builder can help you create a home best suited for your needs.
This is especially important if a senior was hospitalized for any reason.
“When a senior goes into the hospital they are pretty much put into a bed,” Gatti says. A physical therapist might pay them a visit during their stay but for the most part they are idle. As a result of the lack of activity, for every one day a senior is in bed it will take three days to recover their strength.
“That’s huge,” says Gatti, who broke her leg a couple of years ago and was incapacitated for a long period of time. “I couldn’t believe how long it took me to regain my strength and I’m in my 50s, so for someone older (and already weak because of muscle atrophy) it’s even harder.” Plymouth MI elder care supports patients with intensive, highly specialized care for acutely ill or severely traumatized patients.
While you’re there visiting, offer to help with tasks they might have avoided because of fatigue, such as showering. Ask about any follow-up appointments that might require a ride to the doctor’s office. Or share a pot of tea and the time you have with them.