Health and wellbeing in seniors are important factors, and they are areas that can easily be overlooked. If the right care is not given to seniors, it will affect their mental wellbeing and their physical wellbeing too. Keeping seniors connected to the outside world and re-iterating how important physical care is will be an area that needs constant monitoring and development. If senior health care is not regularly reviewed, or if action is too slow to take place, then repercussions and damage caused can be long-lasting. So, what considerations must be taken into account when improving health and wellbeing in seniors?
Listening to Seniors
Quite often, new policies and care plans are introduced without prior consultation with seniors, and this is a mistake that needs to be avoided. When you get feedback from seniors who are in need of treatment and care and who may also be in need of support and assistance, you can start working on care plans that are beneficial and targeted to the needs of the patients. To listen to seniors and to create a picture of what is needed, you have to utilize both primary and secondary research. Primary research will be able to tell you where pressing issues lie, and secondary research will be able to allow you to build a bigger picture – with regard to care and support moving forwards. If you only use one method of research, or if you only target a few individuals, you may not get a true reflection of what is needed.
How Environment Can Play a Role
Where senior patients live and how they live can have an impact on their health and wellbeing, and it is important to focus on the environment as much as primary care. A healthy environment for senior patients will be one where they are supported, nurtured, and also given freedom of choice. If senior patients are in environments that are too restrictive, you may find that it affects their mental wellbeing. To create a healthy environment for senior patients again, you must listen to their needs and requirements. Small changes and improvements in the environment of a patient may make all of the difference. So, before making large changes, always focus on smaller elements first and foremost.
Encouraging Exercise and Physical Movement
As seniors get older, there becomes a reluctance to move and exercise. This reluctance can have a lasting impact if you are not careful. Halting this behavior before it sets in is important. To encourage seniors to move and exercise more, you may want to look at group activities or sessions. The feeling of community is important for seniors, and if you organize large group workouts or movement classes, you may have more success with larger numbers. As all seniors are different with regards to their approach and their level of fitness, you should take their care on a case-by-case basis. You should not assume that a one size fits all approach will work as this may alienate some, and as a result, it may leave them feeling left out. You may find that a targeted approach for one area of the body per exercise session may yield better results than general workout sessions (which may deter seniors from attending).
Reducing the Risk of Illness and Disease
When health and wellbeing are improved in seniors, there is a greater likelihood that the risk of illness and disease is reduced. Seniors can be more proactive in their care and in spotting warning signs, and health professionals can be more proactive too. When more positive and proactive action is taken, warning signs can be spotted (and treated) a lot sooner. Illnesses and diseases in senior patients can spread, and they can become a prominent feature in the lives of many if health and wellbeing are not focused on. However, proactive steps taken by all those in the healthcare community can help to drastically reduce the figures. Spotting risks and issues early enough and encouraging a healthier lifestyle are key areas that you must focus on moving forwards.
Encouraging Regular Checkups
You may find through research that seniors avoid having regular checkups with their local doctor or medical professional. This could be for several reasons. For example, they may have had a negative experience in the past that may have tainted their outlook. Or, they may be concerned that they are sick or ill. Obliterating concerns and doubts within senior patients and encouraging regular checkups are going to be crucial steps to take. If regular checkups are not maintained with a doctor or other healthcare professional, then treatment (if needed) may not happen as rapidly as it needs to. If hesitation or doubt is in the mind of seniors attending regular checkups, then you need to work on alleviating this with a targeted approach. Reiterating the benefits of regular checkups and possibly even holding group checkups may help to alleviate stress and worry associated with a checkup
Following Good Practices
Good practices pave the way for high-quality care. You will find it beneficial to continue your studies in senior care and ensure that you are always providing the highest standards (and level of care). As you are a busy healthcare professional, you need to look at completing an online AGPCNP MSN program because this can be completed online around your existing commitments. When you advance both your knowledge and awareness about what good practices look like and also what good senior healthcare and wellbeing look like, you will be in the best place to move forwards. When good practices are followed and reiterated at all levels, the improvement of health and wellbeing in seniors will be much easier to achieve.
A healthy and well-balanced diet for senior patients is important. If a senior patient is living on their own, you may find that they turned to ready-made options for their dinner and lunch. More often than not, these ready-made options contain too much salt and little protein and nutrition. As senior patients get older, their nutritional requirements and needs change. Creating and offering easy-to-cook meal plans (that give them the nutrients they need daily) could be something that you look at offering shortly. If you cannot be sure that healthy eating is being followed, then a process of observation will need to be taken. Stepping in and providing meals to seniors may also be called for moving forwards. For example, providing a meal on wheels service would guarantee that seniors get access to well-cooked nutritious meals quickly and easily.
Nutrients and Supplements
In addition to ensuring that healthy eating is happening in seniors, you may also need to look at providing additional supplements and nutrients. For example, a lot of seniors can be calcium deficient or iron deficient. You may even find they are B12 deficient if they are vegetarian or vegan. Nutrients and supplements should, of course, not replace or substitute healthy eating, but when they are offered together, you should notice an improvement in the health and wellbeing of seniors. For example, when they have the right nutrients and supplements in their diet, you may notice they have a more positive outlook or they may have more energy.
Maintaining Strength and Mobility
As seniors get older, they begin to lose muscle mass, this will, of course, weaken their strength, and it may lead to mobility issues too. To avoid mobility issues in seniors, you must encourage them to maintain an active lifestyle. If they are sitting for long periods of the day, you will find that it will have a detrimental impact on their body. To rebuild strength (if it has been lost), you must encourage seniors to take part in some gentle forms of exercise. For example, sitting down, they can lift light weights to improve their strength. Or, they could attend a water fitness class at a local swimming pool. Exercising in the water is less arduous on their bodies, and it can be relaxing too.
Improving Quality of Life
Quality of life is a big area to cover. It is important that when you are talking about health and wellbeing, you also talk about improving their quality of life. If seniors have no quality of life (or if they have reduced quality of life), you will find that it will affect their mental health and wellbeing. When this is affected, it can then trigger a downwards spiral, which is, of course, not what you want to happen. To improve the quality of life in seniors, you need to establish where areas for improvement lie. Targeting specific areas will help you yield better results.
Focusing on Reducing Isolation
Isolation can have a big impact on seniors of all ages. If isolation creeps in, you can find that seniors become more withdrawn and, of course, less interested in their health and wellbeing. To avoid isolation in seniors and to encourage them to maintain a healthy social life, you must reiterate the benefits of socialization. You could do this by holding group events or by organizing regular get-togethers.