Healthy aging is a blessing, but the journey to aging healthy can be difficult for many. Social determinants of health like basic food, clothing, shelter can have adverse effects on the outcome. While we are all working for health for all scenarios, it is not common to see that there is a distinction between chronic care management and acute care management in our world. Prevention is better than cure, but the cure is sometimes the right choice for the prevention of future problems or repetitive problems.
Health issues are a huge financial burden, lead to mental health decline and many times increase morbidities and mortalities. Acute chronic care management can prevent many problems, like dementia, delirium, depression, and death, saying from my past experiences as a Geriatrician. These acute issues can affect the elderly at home or in senior living.
One such case is an example, where an elderly with cognitive challenges was having behavioral issues and had an underlying cognitive decline in the form of Alzheimer’s. Despite psychological evaluation and help, her behaviors were worsening, she was found to have repeated or recurrent urinary tract infections and once she was successfully treated and placed on prophylaxis in the senior living and any other pathology ruled out with a visit to the urologist, her condition improved dramatically. She was more cooperative and despite being wheelchair-bound was active, smiling, and pleased with the staff, visitors like family, and friends. This speaks volumes because not everyone needs medications to treat psychological issues.
Here are some ways to prevent such acute issues in our elderly at home or in a senior living in random order:
- A comprehensive Geriatric examination and assessment by a Geriatrician is of importance.
- Maintaining good hydration, bowel and bladder health is important.
- Falls must be prevented and injuries as well.
- Cognitive testing and follow up are critical for health.
- Nutrition plays a very important role in maintaining health.
- Social and emotional needs must be met for mental well being is necessary for healthy aging.
- Home or room or setting must be free of clutter, pose no health hazard and make it safe for healthy living.
- Regular immunizations and keeping healthcare updated can prevent acute issues.
- Following infection guidelines and protocols at home or in senior living can control many acute issues.
- Life’s simple pleasures are important but not at the expense of alcohol, drugs etc.
- Skin care, using sunscreen should be encouraged, a health professional contacted when in need.
- Activity and recreation can help prevent mental decline to an extent.
- Friendships and companionships from family, friends, caregivers or volunteers can many times help an elderly get the treatment in the right time thus avoiding acute issues from causing further distress.
- Sleep and rest is important for health.
- Personal hygiene can prevent acute issues.
- Medication management can prevent acute issues.
We discussed acute in the above, in future blogs we will discuss chronic issues in general without going into medical details. We know acute health issues affect our elderly. If there is a way we can prevent this, we can gift our elderly with mihygge and a wonderful life ahead. We know there are many more out there, we will be happy to see your comments, until next time, we wish a very safe and healthy living at home or in senior living for all our seniors.