As we all know, ageing is an inevitable process that we will all experience. However, with so many people feeling young at heart, many find it difficult to accept the changes that come with ageing. By helping people to come to terms with social and health fluctuations as we age, and providing practical support and guidance, carers and health care professionals can greatly improve people’s quality of life and general wellbeing.
Here are ProMedica24’s 5 top tips for positive elder care:
- Stress the importance of quality time with loved ones and family. People should be encouraged to spend as much time as possible with others as this will prevent them from feeling lonely or anxious. It is natural for social circles to decrease as people age, and unfortunately many people will experience the loss of a loved one or close friends. As a result, some may also need to be encouraged to find new ways to socialise. Depending on the person’s interests and capabilities, they may want to volunteer for a local charity, join a community group or get involved in an activity such as the Ramblers walking groups. If friends and family live far away, you could also encourage others to make the most of modern technology such as texting, social media (e.g. Facebook) and Skype (computer video calls) to keep in touch.
- Regularly exercise. Although our bodies become slower and more fragile as we age, there are many low impact exercises that are suitable for older people such as swimming, tai chi, low impact cardio and walking. Even doing just 30 minutes a day can reduce the risks of suffering a stroke and can also help keep dementia at bay due to the increase of oxygen in the brain.
- Create a brain gym. Take time out to complete crosswords, Sudoku, puzzles, board or card games. Not only is this a good way to interact with patients and assess their mental capabilities and emotional wellbeing, studies have shown that these type of activities can strengthen the memory.
- Good nutrition is vital. Preparing a healthy and varied diet for your patients – and encouraging them to do the same is important. As we age, some people lose interest in preparing food and may even lose their appetite. So, it is vital that we remain encouraged to follow a varied, balanced and nutritionally rich diet and to maintain a healthy weight. Try to incorporate at least 5 vegetables and fruit daily, be it frozen, fresh or canned. Research shows that people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease and certain cancers. Aim for a daily portion of protein and dairy, as well as foods rich in Omega 3 such as oily fish, as they are fantastic at protecting brittle bones and protecting vital organs.
- Don’t avoid the dentist. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth- at least twice a day. Regularly cleaning teeth and flossing daily helps to prevent gum disease by removing pieces of food and plaque from between the teeth. If it’s left to build up you might notice sore or bleeding gums, and gum disease can also be linked to diabetes, strokes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Try and remind your patient to have regular dental check-ups and, and if they wear dentures or have a bridge, to ask their dentist whether it fits properly.
ProMedica 24 is Europe’s largest provider of live in care and support services, helping people to live as independently as possible in the comfort of their own homes. Personal relationships and someone’s social environment are central to life, regardless of age or mental ability. Support should be sensitive to the person as an individual, and focus on promoting their wellbeing and meeting their needs.
All of Promedica24’s live-in care teams are made up of fully trained and skilled care and support workers who are experienced in a range of conditions affecting older people including dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, arthritis and diabetes. For more information please go to http://promedica24.co.uk.