Managing Your Health at Home
There are a number of personal healthcare tasks that do not need to be monitored in a hospital setting, but can instead be managed in your home. Whether you choose to hire a home care agency to assist with these needs or you choose to manage them yourself under the direction of an outside specialist, there are some simple things you can do to manage your foot care, dental care, diabetes, and medication needs at home.
Foot pain among seniors is common, as our feet become wider, flatter, dryer, and lose some of their padding with age. Diabetes and arthritis can add to these problems, and may lead to serious consequences if not treated properly.
- Wash your feet with soap and water regularly, and use a brush to scrub off dead skin and improve circulation.
- Make sure your feet are completely dry after washing. Pay special attention to the spaces between your toes.
- Moisturize to prevent skin cracks and infections.
- Pay attention to your toenails – trim them straight across to avoid sharp edges.
- Treat any corns, warts, blisters, or other problems as soon as detected.
As we grow older, our teeth start to show the effects of a lifetime of wear and tear. One common issue is darkening teeth, which comes from the enamel being worn away to expose the yellow and stained inner layer of our teeth. Seniors may also suffer from dry mouth, gum decay, a lessened sense of taste, and tooth loss.
- The best thing you can do for your oral health is to brush and floss daily to prevent plaque build-up. If this is difficult due to arthritis, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease, for example, have a family member or home care aide assist you, or try an electric toothbrush.
- See your dentist regularly, and report any changes you notice: a loose tooth, increased sensitivity, bleeding, or sores inside the mouth.
- Avoiding sugary foods and drinks will also help keep your teeth in good health.
Cases of diabetes continue to grow worldwide. The often devastating effects of this disease can be lessened or delayed however, by making certain lifestyle changes and following your physician’s care directions.
- A healthy diet and regular exercise are very important in managing diabetes. Work on developing a balanced menu, change up your grocery list, and incorporate fifteen minutes of walking into your day.
- Check your blood glucose as directed and record the results in a log that you can refer back to as needed.
- Take medication and/or administer insulin shots as prescribed.
For many seniors, the number of prescribed medications they take increases with age. It can be difficult to remember how many of which pills to take at what time, and hard to keep track of what each medication does and what its side effects are. Medication mismanagement is the cause of many hospital admissions and transitions to nursing homes, so avoiding it should be a main focus of your at-home care.
- Make sure that the people close to you – family members, friends, home health agency – are aware of which medication you are taking. Keeping a list in a prominent place, along with the prescribed dosages, is helpful.
- When you take your medication, record the time as a reference in case you forget when you took it later.
- Electronic medical reminder devices are available, as are medication dispensers that stay locked and only dispense the proper amount of medication at the proper times. Plastic pill organizers are another low-tech solution.
- Sometimes, different health care providers will prescribe medications without knowing what has already been prescribed. Bring a list of all of your prescriptions to every appointment, so that the provider can see exactly what is being taken. Include any over-the-counter drugs!
At First Class Home Care Inc. we can provide the support and solutions that are right for you. Managing your health at home can be a complex and difficult task. Please call us at 905-636-9995 for more information on how we can support your in home health needs or direct you to resources in your community.