Practical Tips to Help Older Adults Cope With Chronic Health Conditions
Millions of Americans are living with at least one, if not multiple, chronic health conditions, and we’ve got tips to help them cope.
Millions of older adults in the U.S. are living with one or more chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. With these conditions comes a range of symptoms such as pain, fatigue, mood changes, insomnia, and more. Coping with these symptoms and disease management can feel like a daily struggle, particularly for older adults who are living with more than one chronic condition.
How Can Chronic Health Conditions Be Managed Effectively?
For family caregivers who are caring for an older loved one with chronic health conditions, helping a loved one manage symptoms can feel overwhelming. The good news is that there are a number of tips that can help. Not only will these tips help ease the stress of caring for a loved one with a chronic health condition, but they will also help improve the older adult’s overall health and quality of life.
- Get a full understanding of the illness. Having a solid understanding of the chronic health condition is key in terms of managing it and easing symptoms. Start by asking the doctor questions about the illness: what can be expected in terms of symptoms, what medications can and cannot be taken, etc. Also ask the doctor for trusted resources that can offer more information about the illness and strategies to help a loved one manage it effectively.
- Coordinate care. Individuals with more than one chronic illness will likely work with multiple specialists. Coordinating the information from all doctors can help to ensure a family member is receiving the right care and that none of treatments negatively impact another health condition. Work with the primary care physician to coordinate all treatments, keep track of symptoms, and communicate with specialists.
- Control the things you can. Chronic disease care can leave older adults and family caregivers feeling overwhelmed. However, there are many aspects of a healthy lifestyle that are well within your control. Making physician-recommended changes can help ease and even improve chronic disease symptoms. Eating well-balanced meals, staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and refraining from smoking are all things you can help a loved one control for improved overall health and wellness.
- Get the family involved. Significant lifestyle changes and disease management can feel daunting for just one person. Involving loved ones in the person’s new way of life, from healthy eating to exercise, can help the process feel more doable.
- Manage medications. Medication adherence is extremely important when it comes to managing chronic health conditions. For people with a variety of health issues, juggling multiple medications is a big challenge. Keep a list on hand of all the medications a loved one takes so they can easily be discussed with the health care team. Also talk with the doctors or pharmacist to understand the purpose of each medication: why they are necessary, what is the best way to take them, and what are the most common side-effects.
- Reach out for help. Chronic disease management can make seniors and their family caregivers feel overwhelmed and isolated at times. Never be afraid to reach out for help. Consult with doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team as needed. Find support groups in your area to learn helpful care tips as well as to build a support system. Goodman Jewish Family Services can help with many needs, as well as Jewish Family Home Care, both located in Broward County.
Additionally, partnering with a trusted in-home care provider, like Jewish Family Home Care, can help individuals stay on top of chronic disease care. Our professional care team can help older adults improve disease management in a number of ways, including:
- Providing medication reminders for improved adherence
- Offering personal nutrition services to maintain a healthier diet
- Assistance with movement and exercise
- Specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s care
- And much more
If you have a loved one who could benefit from our home care and home health care services, we would be happy to further discuss how our team can help.