Preventing Senior Hospitalizations Part 1

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No one likes going to the hospital.  Let's face it, if you could stay away from them, you would.  I find that seniors dread going to the hospital even more.  It is like accepting the fact that something is wrong and you have to leave your home to fix it!

Research conducted by Home Instead, Inc. indicates that the problem of preventable hospitalization of seniors is viewed as very to extremely serious by three-fourths (74.6%) of the North American nurses surveyed who specialize in senior care.

So what can you do to prevent your senior family member from going to the hospital.  There are many things that you can do, but this study narrowed it down to the 5 they felt were most important.

  1. Follow doctor's orders
  2. Don't ignore symptoms
  3. Reduce risks of falls and accidents
  4. Stay active physically and mentally
  5. Maintain a healthy diet

I want to discuss these one at a time because they are very important and if you can work on these items with your family, then hopefully you can stay home and healthy longer!

Following doctors orders - sounds simple enough.  However for a lot of people this simple thing is a HUGE feat to accomplish.  The most important thing for a senior is to visit the doctor on a regular basis.  When you get to know your physician and they know you, it is easier to talk with them about concerns you may have.  They also learn how you feel about certain medical topics.

I have had many seniors tell me, they do not care for their doctor.  Maybe their family doctor retired and they do not like the replacement and never changed.  I think the most important thing about the physician/patient relationship is to be able to talk openly and freely and feel like you are being heard.  Over the past 5 years I switched my primary care physician 3 times.  Why?  I wanted a doctor that I felt comfortable with and who would honor my medical choices.  So if you do not like yours, change!

So when you find the one that fits, talk with them about how you are feeling.  If they make a recommendation to change a medication or change your diet, listen and follow their instructions.  Their goal is to keep you healthy at home too, so listen to their suggestions and follow through with them.

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