When we hit the ripe age of 65, most of us are taking some type of medication or supplement daily. Whatever kind of medication or supplements you’re taking, it’s smart to know if and how they can affect your risk of falling. Here are a few questions on what you should ask your doctor regarding the medication and the falls risk.
What information should I know about this medication?
In order to reduce the risk of falling, it is vital to take your medication as prescribed by your doctor and or pharmacist.
Your doctor will be happy to answer your questions and help you create a plan to take all of your medication safely. You can jump-start your medication safety knowledge by asking these three questions:
Why is the medication being prescribed? How long will it be before the medicine starts working? What side effects should I be aware of?
Are there alternative options for this medication?
If you ever experience adverse side effects from a medication you are taking; your doctor may recommend a non-drug alternative. For example, if a prescription to aid you with sleep is causing you to become sleepy during the day, making you dizzy, and possibly increase your risk of falling, then your doctor may suggest for you to not nap during the day. Alternatively, to avoid caffeine in the afternoon; It’s also important to have a regular bedtime routine, and not looking at a tv or phone right before bed.
Is there an easy way to keep track of the medication I am taking?
Having an up-to-date list of all of your medication you are currently taking is an excellent way to start a discussion with your doctor or pharmacist about your risk of falling. On your list, do not forget things like patches, eye drops, or creams that a doctor has prescribed to you. Write down all of your over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements as well. Make sure you notate how much you take, and how often and when you take them. The name of the prescribing doctor and the health problem it treats can even be helpful. It’s a good idea to keep this list with you all of the time.
Just a few of the above questions can help you understand your medication better and help prevent a fall.
When you’re a caregiver, one of the most important things you can do is make time for yourself. It can be as simple as spending 10 minutes of exercise, reading the latest bestseller or your favorite hobby. Even a small step toward rejuvenation will benefit you, and in turn, the loved one you give care to every day.
The fact is, if you don’t learn how to take time for yourself, your frustration is likely to boil over. You’ll be less productive, and your relationship with your loved one could suffer.
Consider this list of things you can do for yourself:
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone! ACG can help you through any stage of your caregiver journey, whether it is 1 hour of Respite care or our daily care options.
- Take care of your health so that you can be healthy enough to take care of your loved one. This includes eating well, daily exercise, and mental health breaks.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. Don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself.
- Keep humor in your life. It’s true — laughter is the best medicine. Watch a silly TV program or seek out a movie that makes you laugh. Find things to laugh about with the loved one in your care — that person needs joy too.
- Caregiving is hard work, so take respite breaks often.
- Be vigilant for signs of depression. The demands placed on you as a caregiver can be difficult and stressful. Often depression symptoms can be managed with the help of therapy or medication.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information, so it’s up to date and easy to find. Keep your checkbook and accounts balanced, work when you need to, and don’t stop planning for the future. If you allow yourself to be immersed in your caregiver responsibilities alone, it’ll be harder to re-integrate into life later on.
- Stay connected with the outside world. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Stay connected with family and friends, even if it’s just by phone or online. Talk to friends about something other than your role as a caregiver.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
Everyone loves a healthy-looking smile, but now oral health has been identified as a vital part of good general health in the elderly population. Oral health can be crucial for balance and well-being in most people. However, it is also important for proper nourishment, and it promotes positive social interaction.
As we age, we experience common issues and changes with our health. Some of the typical effects of age are gum disease, tooth loss, and other oral ailments. However, with good dental health education, many seniors can prevent some of these issues and develop strategies to help deal with them.
According to The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), senior adults who do not have good dental health are putting themselves at a higher risk of developing endocarditis, pneumonia, and many other problematic health concerns. Some medications taken daily by elderly adults can cause side effects like dry mouth. Dry mouth is a leading cause of tooth decay which could lead to other medical issues. To prevent poor dental health, it is recommended that seniors should visit their dental providers regularly along with keeping their clean teeth daily. For more information on how often it is recommended to visit your dentist, please visit the Government of Bermuda’s Dental Health website.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has extensive information on their website on how to help seniors understand the importance of oral health with additional helpful tips on this topic for caregivers. To review this information in more detail, you can visit the GSA website by clicking here or copying and pasting the following link into your browser. https://www.geron.org/programs-services/alliances-and-multi-stakeholder-collaborations/oral-health-an-essential-element-of-healthy-aging
Becoming a caregiver for a loved one can be a staggering thought and a hard balancing act to achieve. Just because someone becomes a caregiver, doesn’t mean they forego all of their other responsibilities. In fact, most caregivers must continue to lead their everyday lives while trying to give care and compassion to those in need successfully. We hope to help caregivers by offering some strategies to help manage these difficult times.
- Worrying about the future can be a daily fear for a caregiver. Do your best to focus on the moment you are in or the task you are performing, and try not to allow the future to rule your feelings or actions by making you feel overwhelmed. Taking one day at a time is an important part of coping with your caregiving duties.
- Taking on the role of caregiver is an important endeavor, and it only makes sense for you to educate yourself when it comes to medical terms that pertain to your loved one’s needs. There are many resources available on the internet, but it is in your best interest to discuss your questions with your doctors. They are working directly with you and your loved one and can provide clear answers and helpful information to assist you on this journey.
- If possible, ask for help with cleaning your home. This may require you to reach out to supportive family and friends to assist you or hire a company that has experience offering this type of service.
- It may be easier said than done, but planning the tasks you need to do ahead of time can set you up for success and reduce your stress. One example of this could be to set aside one day each week to cook all of your meals. Many great recipes can be found on the internet for cooking bulk meals and freezing them for easy access when it’s mealtime.
- Don’t forget to care for yourself too. The demands of being a caregiver can sometimes cause us to let go of ourselves and entirely focus on the loved one who is in need. Remember you need to stay healthy for yourself and your loved one.
When caregiving for your loved ones, remember that you are doing your best by offering your help to them during this sensitive time, and this is one of the most precious gifts you could offer them. Atlantic Caregiving (ACG) can assist with home health care, senior care, housekeeping, errands, respite care, meal preparation and more. You can learn more about ACG on their website or by contacting them by email email@example.com or phone at 441-292-9690.
Atlantic Caregiving is an at home health care provider with a mission to provide safe, skilled, compassionate, and personalised care to individuals and their families when transitioning from facility care to home. Our goal is to help clients stay in their familiar surroundings and live well no matter the circumstances while happily engaging with their family. We want to support families and clients throughout the process of aging, and to make the transition from hospital to the home a smooth event with professional care and knowledge.
We feel that one of the next natural steps in assisting our community with caregiving is starting a Blog. Our Blog will have regular posts as a part of the resources we offer to help support families and clients with caregiving needs. We hope the information we provide will inform the community on current technology, promote healthy aging, independence, dignity, and encourage a like-minded support system. We want to invite our community to join in these blog posts with their own experiences and uplifting conversation. Thanks so much for being a part of this community, and working to increase our knowledge of the aging process and best available practices.