At some point, you may have to take an elderly loved one to the emergency room. This could be due to a variety of reasons, but there are a few causes that tend to be more common. Westfield, NJ, live-in care professionals discuss 5 of the most common conditions and incidents that land seniors in the emergency room and offer tips on preventing each instance.
Strokes are one of the leading causes of death among seniors, and they also require a trip to the emergency room. Many live-in and hourly caregivers in Westfield associate strokes with stress and bad eating habits, but lack of sleep is another reason why seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing strokes. Sleep fragmentation causes poor blood circulation in the brain, increasing the risk of a stroke. However, your loved one can maintain better sleeping patterns and prevent a stroke by:
- Exercising regularly
- Following a sleep schedule
- Avoiding long naps
- Minimizing caffeine intake
2. Falls and Other Accidents
Seniors have a higher risk of falling than most other age groups. Their weakened bones and muscles generally lead to slips, falls, and other accidents. Encourage your loved one to stay active and build his or her bone muscle through regular exercise and healthy eating. You should also make sure your loved one’s home is free of clutter, has adequate lighting, and has grab bars installed in various rooms of the home.
3. Abdominal Pain
As seniors age, the stomach lining’s capacity to resist damage decreases, leading to digestive conditions. Most seniors who go to the emergency room due to abdominal pain are experiencing:
- Large-bowel obstruction
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Diverticular disease
- Vascular catastrophes
Encourage your loved one to eat healthily and avoid toxic foods. Your loved one will also need to see his or her doctor on a regular basis and get tested for these common digestive issues.
4. Heart Disease
As a part of the aging process, your loved one’s heart will begin to deteriorate as a pump, and he will be more vulnerable to a variety of issues. However, he or she can take various steps to prevent heart disease, such as eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise. Your loved one will also need to stop smoking, reduce his or her alcohol intake, and decrease the stress in his or her life.
Some seniors are unable to clear secretions from their lungs, preventing the bronchial tubes from functioning properly, which means oxygen is unable to reach the blood and cells of the body, leading to pneumonia and other complications. A weakened immune system is another reason why seniors are at a higher risk of pneumonia. You will need to know the signs of this disease to prevent it from progressing. Vaccinations and regular exercise can also prevent pneumonia.
This risk of a trip to the emergency room can be reduced by focusing a healthy lifestyle. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available around the clock to prepare nutritious meals, assist with exercise, provide medication reminders, and help with a wide variety of other daily tasks. For more information on the at-home care Westfield seniors and their families trust, call 908.450.9400 to schedule a complimentary consultation.