Older people have special needs considering the physical status many of them have, including weakened extremities, restricted mobility, poor vision, and declining cognitive functioning.
The human body will eventually deteriorate with age, which means that things that a person can easily do back when they were a teen can become a struggle when they attempt to do the same during their senior years.
When you’re caring for a senior parent, grandparent, relative, or patient, it’s important to have all the necessary items to provide proper care to improve their quality of life. Caring for the elderly can be challenging, which is why you should be well-equipped for the job.
So, how do you take good care of a senior patient? What are the things you need to prepare when caring for a senior family member?
In this post, you’ll learn the essential items you should have when caring for the elderly, which could serve as your reference to be able to provide excellent quality senior patient care.
Grooming Products And Supplies
Grooming products and supplies would include shampoo, conditioner, comb, ear cleaner, lotion, moisturizer, and any product applied on the skin or hair. Seniors don’t really need fancy grooming products.
Often, seniors will only be spending most of their time at home, which means that they don’t need to use or put anything expensive. The goal of using these grooming products and supplies is to ensure that seniors remain clean even when they’re only at home.
When choosing hair care products for seniors, always prioritize safety. It may surprise you, but, yes, baby shampoo is highly recommended for seniors to avoid eye irritation. As compared to a traditional conditioner, it’s best to choose a detangling spray or a leave-on conditioner, which eliminates a second rinse in the sink or shower that could result in undue fatigue, or a slip or fall accident.
If you’re going to look after a senior with skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, it’s best if you consult their doctors for the best grooming products and supplies. Using the wrong grooming products can worsen these skin conditions, causing extreme pain and discomfort to the senior.
Senior citizens usually experience urinary incontinence, which refers to involuntary urine leakage. According to the report of the World Health Organization or WHO, urinary incontinence is highly prevalent among older people (60 years old and above); older women experience it twice higher than older men.
Overactive bladder or urge incontinence among the elderly can be caused by stroke, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, or injuries. Pelvic floor atrophy in older women and prostate enlargement in older men can also lead to an overactive bladder. That’s why it’s important to always include protective underwear for adults in your list when caring for an elderly family member or patient.
Protective underwear is a must for seniors with temporary mobility impairment, mobility issues, dementia, and prostate cancer. Seniors who are permanently disabled because of elder abuse injury are also advised to wear protective underwear to make it easy for them to relieve themselves. Protective underwear can also improve the seniors’ quality of life as these products are very easy on the skin and made from breathable fabric, helping to soak up fluid discharges effectively.
Look into these following factors when buying the right adult incontinence products:
- Gender: Consider the gender of the senior who will use the incontinence product because men and women have different needs. Men need an incontinence product with greater protection up front, where they need it the most.
- Correct Size: Determine the person’s size for proper fit by measuring the elderly patient’s hip and waist. A very small or a way too large incontinence product will just result in leaks and accidents.
- Type Of Absorbency: Remember that not all senior incontinence products are the same. There are seniors who only need an incontinence pad or protective underwear for light leakage. Other seniors will require the highest absorbency degree to protect them against complete bladder or bowel leakage.
- Check the brand: The protective underwear that seniors use can affect their comfort, which is why you should be careful in choosing. If you haven’t bought protective underwear for seniors in the past, make sure to consider the brand before buying. You should only let seniors use protective underwear that’s manufactured by reputable brands in the market.
First Aid Kit
When you’re taking care of an elderly person, it’s important to prepare for bodily injuries and other medical emergencies. Seniors are vulnerable to injuries because they have brittle bones and thinner skin.
Moreover, the mental and physical abilities of seniors also deteriorate with age, which means that they’re no longer as mobile or focused as before.
That’s why a minor or non-life-threatening injury demands particular care by keeping appropriate first aid for seniors.
When left untreated, injuries can take a toll on a senior’s life and, in worse cases, can become the reason for their death.
The content of a senior’s first aid kit depends on the person’s health or current medical condition. So, it’s of the essence to talk with their doctor. It helps determine the specialty home care or additional supplies your senior patient needs, like a blood pressure monitor, glucometer or blood sugar reader, or an epinephrine injector.
Here are the essential items that have to be in the first aid kit for seniors:
- Scissors or shears
- Cotton swabs
- Hand sanitizer
- Compact flashlight
- Antiseptic ointment and/or wipes
- Fever reducer
- Calamine lotion
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Cold compress
In addition, essential pieces of information must be included in a first aid kit for seniors, such as the following:
- Phone numbers (doctor’s, pharmacy’s, poison control’s)
- Medical forms (such as do not resuscitate or DNR, advance directives, or living will)
- List of medications (must include dosage and schedule)
Massage And Relaxing Therapy Supplies
Seniors need to stay active, plus they also need massage and relaxation. As much as possible, they want to be pampered with a relaxing massage using essential oils, such as eucalyptus ointment and lavender oil for aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is one way for seniors to also meditate, which greatly improves their sense of wellbeing.
When caring for a senior patient, it’s important to prepare all the essential items that the person needs, including protective underwear or incontinence supplies, as well as a first aid kit. Also, you should choose the right grooming products for proper hygiene and to improve your senior patient’s sense of wellbeing.
Of course, it’s also crucial to take into consideration the senior’s psychological wellness by stocking up enough massage and relaxation therapy supplies.