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Friday, February 27, 2015

Elder Care Tips for Oklahoma Residents

woman with elderly man

If you're currently living in the United States, there is a very good chance that you'll eventually find yourself responsible for the care of an elderly loved one. According to the Administration on Aging, there were 39.6 million people aged 65 or over in the country in 2009, about 12.4% of the entire population. That number has only grown as the years have passed, and some estimates claim that 19% of the population will be 65 or older by 2030. 

Oklahoma residents are no different from others in the country, and if you suddenly find yourself responsible for the care of an elderly relative it can feel a little overwhelming. You are taking on a huge responsibility, but with the right planning, you and your elderly loved one can lead fulfilling and peaceful lives. Before you take up your role as a caregiver, we at Summit Medical Center suggest that you remember these things:

You still need to care for yourself

When you're caring for a loved one, their health and well-being will always be a top priority, but it's always important for you to take care of yourself at the same time. Don't be afraid to ask for help from other friends and family members if you feel that you need a break from caregiving duties, and give yourself some time to relax and pursue a hobby or other interest.

Your home (or their home) needs to be as safe as possible

Maybe you only have to check on your relative a few times a week; maybe they have to stay with you permanently; maybe it'll be a mixture of both. There are some simple things you can do at home that can make it safe for your loved one. Put stick-on night lights in the hallway to ensure that they don't trip in the dark hallway. Also, take any loose decorative rugs and hallway runners out of your home. Full carpets are the best option, as other things are easy to slip or trip on. If they have trouble moving around safely, you may need to invest in a walker, cane, or other medical device. 

See if you need additional medical help

Some people start experiencing minor health problems as they age – such as urinary incontinence and high blood pressure – that can easily be controlled with medication and doctor's visits. However, there are other medical problems that can be more serious. Talk to your relative's doctor about your plans to care for them, and see if they recommend having a nurse visit them occasionally. If your loved one frequently complains of pain, look into different pain management doctors in Oklahoma City to keep them comfortable. Always be sure that they have regular doctor's appointments if they have a medical condition. Nursing can be good for some conditions, but regular doctor's visits are important. 

If you are planning on becoming a caregiver for a relative, set up an appointment for them with us at Summit Medical Center. We can help ease them into the process and ensure that they are pain free!

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