Seniors today have many options for finding a living arrangement that suits their needs. While most seniors will eventually experience a health problem, it is important for older adults and their families to know that many hospitalizations are preventable. Emergency room visits place seniors at risk for picking up other contagious diseases, and recovering from an illness or injury that reaches the point of going to the hospital is often lengthy and emotionally taxing for seniors. Knowing how assisted living communities help to prevent senior hospitalizations gives families a starting point for making the best choices for their loved one’s care plan.
Prevent Fall-Related Injuries With Home ModificationsAn overwhelming amount of senior emergency room visits is due to falls within their home. For seniors with limited mobility, even a simple step can turn into a major fall hazard. Assisted living environments are designed specifically to prevent falls. From having grab bars in the bathroom to ramps and skid-proof floors, a senior is less likely to fall when they live in the safest environment possible.
Catch New Symptoms and Illnesses EarlyMany assisted living homes offer around-the-clock care that may often include nurses and other trained health care professionals. Finding out that a senior has a temperature or is vomiting in the middle of the night means that they may be able to receive care to treat their symptoms before things get out of hand. Being able to manage a common illness, such as a stomach bug, until they can get to the doctor means that seniors can avoid exposure to more pathogens in the emergency room.
Provide Assistance With Medication ManagementIn addition to falls, medication mix-ups are another leading cause of senior hospitalizations. Seniors with memory loss tend to benefit from being in an environment where a caregiver can help remind them when to take their medication. Assisted living caregivers are also great at watching out for unusual side effects from new medications.
Offer Post-Hospitalization CareMany seniors choose to move to assisted living communities after they experience their first major hospitalization. Seniors who are working on their recovery following a stroke or major injury may need assistance with getting out of bed or making meals at first, and trying to do that in a home where they live alone is dangerous. Seniors who have recently been discharged from the hospital also benefit from having someone available to help them watch for things such as infections at their surgical wound site. Catching developing issues early can often prevent hospital readmissions.
Give Support for Chronic Health ConditionsDiabetes, heart disease and COPD are just a few of the health issues that seniors may have as they age. While all of these conditions do pose some challenges, it is still possible for a senior to enjoy many years of a happy life when they have the right types of support. A senior might need help planning nutritious meals that fit their dietary requirements. Or, they may need someone to help remind them about upcoming health maintenance appointments and make sure that they have transportation to get to the doctor. Having these types of support available helps seniors to manage their chronic symptoms so that they don’t lead to an emergency health event.
Encourage Better Overall Health and WellbeingThere is also something to be said about a senior’s mental health. Living alone often leads to isolation, and this can cause seniors to give up on taking care of their health. Many issues can arise during the senior years, and it is important for older adults to have the social support that they need to grieve a loss or learn how to cope with a new health issue. Assisted living communities have activities in place to keep seniors busy and help them meet new people. From going for a walk with another resident of the community to talking to a caregiver about their favorite memories, each day spent in a supportive environment motivates seniors to keep taking care of themselves so that an emergency health problem is less likely to happen.
At some point, almost every senior needs a little assistance to maintain their health and happiness. Living in an environment where their needs are met helps seniors to sail through their golden years with the support they need to avoid frequent visits to the emergency room.