If you’re providing care for a senior loved one, it’s likely that you stumbled into the responsibility without any formal training: you saw the need, and gallantly stepped forward to meet it. Yet, at Heaven at Home Senior Care, extensive training is provided to each of our Dallas home health care professionals before they’re fully equipped to safely and effectively provide in-home care for older adults. In our effort to empower family caregivers, we’ve outlined some of the crucial skills needed to provide the highest possible quality of senior care.
Documenting: Keeping good records of any changes noted in the senior’s condition, and providing details to the medical team immediately, is key to ensuring your loved one has all of the information needed to address any potential concerns. Note dates, times, and as many details as possible – physical changes such as increased pain, numbness, swelling, etc., as well as any changes in behavior and mood.
Nutrition: Ensuring adequate nutrition in the elderly can be challenging. Medication side effects can cause food to be less appealing. Chewing and swallowing problems may be a factor. And loneliness or depression can have a major impact on appetite. In fact, senior malnutrition is becoming more and more prevalent in older adults, and isn’t as simple as noting whether a senior has lost weight. Talk with the senior’s physician or a dietitian to put together a nutrition plan, and be sure the senior’s fluid intake (particularly plain water) is sufficient – at least 8 to 10 cups of fluid per day.
Communicating: Communicating with your older loved one may seem second nature, but there are some key points to consider to help the person feel more comfortable and to avoid damaging his or her self-esteem. Seniors should be spoken to in a respectful manner – never being patronizing or demeaning. Asking open-ended questions, and allowing the senior sufficient time to answer completely without interrupting, are also important communication tips. If your senior loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, refrain from correcting him or her, especially if the topic being discussed heightens emotional responses such as agitation or aggression.
Infection Control: Being in close contact with someone through providing personal care increases the risk for spreading viral and bacterial infections. The best defense against infection is keeping hands clean. Even when using protective gloves, hands should still be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water, both before applying and after removing gloves.
Want more tips from our fully trained and highly skilled home care team, or a partner in care to provide hands-on assistance for your senior loved one? Our Dallas home health care team is available to partner with family caregivers to ensure seniors receive the highest possible quality of care at all times. Contact Heaven at Home Senior Care online, or call us at 866-381-0500 to learn more.