The Three Biggest Dangers to Seniors

Seniors value independence, as do we all. However, as we grow older, our bodies and minds do change, even if we don’t realize it (or are too stubborn to!). As Geriatric Care Managers working with seniors, families and various professionals every day, we have seen time and time again situations that can be prevented. The three biggest dangers facing seniors are medication errors, falls and reaching out for help during a crisis.

Overdosing/Under dosing on Medication

Many aging adults are coping with chronic conditions that require medication. Miscommunication, failing memory or eyesight, and even at times doctor of pharmacy errors can lead to overdosing or under dosing of medications. Make sure that senior loved ones are very clear on what medications they are to take, and that a care plan is in place to make sure everything is followed through with appropriately. Remember to always finish medications according to doctor’s orders. Just because you think you feel fine doesn’t mean that you stop taking your medicine. Financially strapped seniors sometimes lower their doses, or avoid taking medication all together. This is very risky and dangerous behavior. Resources willing, reach out to family for assistance. Consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager to make sure aging seniors are utilizing all of the benefits and resources available in the area.

Falls

Falls are the number one cause of injury deaths for seniors. It is not necessarily the fall itself that causes fatality, but the myriad of other medical conditions that can arise as a result of the injury. Fall prevention is more than just common sense safety measures. Seniors and families should make sure that households are easily accessible throughout. Additionally, focusing on bone health, strength and balance can diminish not only the risk of falling, but the risk of further complications should a fall cause injury. If a fall does occur, medical attention and close follow up should take place. A Geriatric Care Manager can be a key component to make sure your loved one is receiving the best care possible, particularly if you are a long distance caregiver.

Getting Help in a Crisis

Reaching out for help can bring up feelings of failure in some people. In order to protect independence, seniors may hide problems they are having. Family members as well may unintentionally ignore signs of change or distress because seeing their loved one deteriorate is uncomfortable and scary. It is imperative to seek help and involve others during a crisis situation, even if there is resistance or embarrassment. A Geriatric Care Manager is a very valuable resource for seniors and families. GCM’s can assist with coordinating care during a crisis situation, as well as provide continuing oversight to ensure continued well being. Of course with any medical emergency, call 911 right away.

For help navigating elder care in the South Florida area, visit Advocare at www.caremanage.com.

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