Caring the elderly person suffering from a chronic disease is challenging as well as an emotionally draining task. This is primarily because with chronic diseases, there stands skepticism of the condition, progress of the chronic disease and the various changes it is likely to bring for the elderly.
The care process becomes a little easy by having professional help by your side. With the help of professional caregivers, you can manage the health condition of the elderly in a smoother way.
Before we understand various ways of providing the most effective care for the elderly with a chronic condition, let us first look at some of the chronic diseases which usually require a care service.
Any health condition is known to be chronic if it is a long-term health issue which usually does not resolve or get better on its own, and in certain cases, it can’t even be cured completely.
Common Chronic Diseases
Some of the commonly occurring chronic diseases in the older people are:
Asthma: People from any age group can suffer from asthma and tend to experience coughing, breath shortness, wheezing, and chest tightness. In case of the elderly, asthma tends to create a greater risk as they are more likely to suffer from respiratory failure due to asthma, even if the episodes of asthma attack pose mild symptoms.
Arthritis: Problems related to joints usually occur due to the wear and tear in the joint bones. The most common form of arthritis is the osteoarthritis, which occurs in the older adults due to long years of wear and tear on their body, and in some cases, it can also be the result of an injury. Another type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis which tends to affect many other joints, such as the wrists, ankles, elbows, and shoulders. Rheumatoid arthritis is mainly caused due to the abnormality in the immune system.
Cancer: When the elderly undergo any treatment related to cancer, the side effects of the treatment are intense in their case. They can even lose a lot of weight which can subject them to various other health complications.
Chronic kidney disease: When suffering from a chronic kidney disease, the elderly suffer from various side effects; specifically when they are on a dialysis. It becomes crucial to take care of their health for a stable recovery.
Coronary heart disease: Elderly people suffering from coronary heart disease are at a higher risk of developing side effects like hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, obesity, and dyslipidemia.
Dementia: It is a term used for describing symptoms of impairment in the memory, thinking, and communication. Dementia behaviors in the elderly include delusions, aggression, paranoia or hallucinations.
Diabetes: Elderly patients are more prone to diabetes complications. The complications range from cognitive problems to undiagnosed depression, social issues, and coexisting health problems. Many of the elderly diabetic patients are even pre-disposed to hypoglycemia.
Stroke: It happens to be a grave life-threatening medical condition which occurs when the supply of blood to certain part of the brain gets cut off. In the elderly, stroke can cause complications like memory loss, paralysis, difficulty in talking, and changes in the blood pressure.
Chronic Disease Care Tips for Elderly
As a care provider, you play a crucial role in helping the elderly in proper management of the chronic disease while also encouraging self-management among the patients.
To promote self-management, you will have to update the elderly on the following:
- The disease
- Modes of treatment and management
- About the prescribed medications
- Probable side effects
While giving care to the elderly, you will have to take care of the following:
- You should have the skill of managing the fatigue, frustration, isolation, and pain that people with chronic disease encounter
- Communicate effectively with the patients and encourage them also to do the same so that you can understand the problems they are facing. An effective two-way communication further helps in planning the right treatment mode
- You will have to improve their nutrition and general health
- Introduce right activity and fitness sessions into their daily routines
- Help them in practicing relaxation methods and problem-solving skills
- Understand their emotions and be considerate
- Be sympathetic and patient
In certain cases, you can even seek the help of various therapies depending on the chronic condition the elderly person is suffering from. The therapy types can include physiotherapy, speech therapy, acupuncture, and osteopathy.
With professional caregivers, you get to avail highly effective care management for chronic disease care in the elderly. The home care services have a range of care management products and equipment which offer comfort and relief to the patients.