When considering the nursing home option for parents or other loved ones, here are a few of the main advantages to keep to mind:
Better resources and equipment: Private homes simply don’t have the types of medical equipment and supplies needed to help seniors stay healthy. Many nursing homes are almost as advanced as hospitals in their ability to provide sophisticated care for patients on a 24-hour basis.
High-quality long-term care: Due to modern medicine, seniors now live longer than ever. While we’re thankful for this, longer life-spans often come with longer periods of late-life illness and disability. Caring for a senior relative at home is often a long-term commitment of many years, sometimes requiring intensive care.
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If you are a caregiver for an elderly person it is important that you are aware of a common issue that can occur with many seniors. Many seniors will be wakening in the night and be disoriented. This can lead them to get out of bed and have a fall or even try to leave their homes in the night. This is a problem that may not seem serious but it can have very serious ramifications. You will need to be prepared to deal with elderly disorientation at night if you are a caregiver. The following tips can give you some guidelines to help the elderly in your care and keep them safe at night, no matter how they wake-
• Make their bed safe - The first step in making sure that the elder person does not hurt himself or herself upon waking with disorientation is to make their bed safe. The disorientation that many elderly feel often occurs right at waking. This makes it crucial that you take safety measures before they even get up. You can do this by adding safety rails to the bed to keep them from falling out. In addition, the safety rails can also function as grab bars which can help them to sit up safely and get their bearings.
• Prevent falls from happening - The number one type of accident that occurs with seniors who are disoriented at night is falls. Falls can be very serious and even life threatening. This makes it crucial that you do everything you can in order to prevent falls from happening. Lighting is the number one way to help prevent falls. There are motion sensors lights that turn on as someone approaches them. In addition, rugs should be non slip and there should be a clear path for the senior to travel to the bathroom and the kitchen at night.
• Consider the effects of medication - Elder people take a lot of prescriptions. This makes it important that if the senior person in your care is taking any kind of medication and is experiencing disorientation at night (or any time), then you should consider the medication that they are taking. Sometimes all it takes to resolve nighttime disorientation is talking to the doctor and switching medications. This is especially important if the senior is taking several medications which could be causing this effect by being mixed together.
• Alarm the doors of the home - If the senior in your care is experiencing nighttime disorientation it is important to consider if they can leave the home at night. Unfortunately, the elderly can often become so mixed up at night that they leave their home and are exposed to all sorts of problems when outside at night. If your elderly loved one is having this problem it is important to make sure that any door that they can leave through is alarmed. This will then wake someone and allow them the chance to stop the senior before they get outside.
• Consult a doctor if the problem is chronic - It is important to understand that nighttime disorientation in seniors is not a regular part of aging. While everyone can have moments of nighttime disorientation, if the problem is becoming chronic then you should consult a doctor. Chronic nighttime disorientation can be sign of a serious medical issue and treatment should be sought immediately. Only by having a medical checkup can the doctor diagnose if there is another problem that is occurring. Do not assume that your loved one is simply aging. You should get a medical consultation to determine what the underlying cause is.
Elderly Disorientation at Night
Communication is an important aspect of healthy and independent living. Communication not only involves talking and writing but we also need to listen, watch, sense and read language.
Some seniors experience decreased senses (vision, hearing). Communication aids can make communication easier.
Some communication aids and tips include:
- pens and pencils that are thicker or wrapped in rubber so that it is easier to grasp
- heavier pens and pencils are easier to use for people who have shaky hands
- heavy lined paper and a thick pen tip for those with decreased vision
- a computer as you can increase the font and can print in large thick font
- computers can also have adapted keyboards, mouses, accessible programs (large font, etc) and even voice recognition programs that translate voice into text
- ensure proper lighting
- use a magnifier
- consider a magnifier with a built in light
- page turners
- books and other media in audio format (audio books)
- speech devices that display message on screen
- picture based computer or print based systems
- letter and symbol boards
- voice amplifiers
- hearing aids
- headset amplifiers
- door bell and telephone conversion (light and bell signals)
- amplified telephone
- large buttons and display on phone
- picture based speed dial buttons
- voice operated telephone
- loud ringer and/or light based signal
- teletypewriter (TTY) device for those who are hearing impaired
- large remote control
- large TV screen
- use captioning option on TV