Senior Care Colorado

Proper senior care encompasses a wide variety of assessments, behaviors, remedies, and types of care.  In Colorado and the Western US, there is more of a movement to think more holistically about oneself and an aging loved one when it comes time to evaluate how they’re progressing later in years.  If you’re providing Colorado senior care, here are a few 3 important medically-related areas that can help a senior continue in good health.

1. Calcium and vitamin D supplements. Calcium and vitamin D are involved in maintaining stronger bones, which can reduce the chance of breaking a bone if an older person falls. Unfortunately, many older seniors have low levels of vitamin D, especially if they’re like most and spend a lot of their time indoors. More and more experts recommend that older people take at least 800 IUs of vitamin D daily, along with 1200mg of elemental calcium.  NOTE:  Be sure to check first with a doctor if there have been concerns about kidney disease or kidney stones. Whether or not older people should regularly have their vitamin D level checked is more controversial; high-dose vitamin D can be used for four to eight weeks in people who have very low levels, but using regular doses will also eventually bring up the vitamin D level.

Start by checking your senior loved one’s medications to see all the chemicals and ingredients. If there’s not any calcium or vitamin D, plan to bring the question up to the doctor. You can also ask the related question, which is whether your senior loved one should be checked for osteoporosis. Women over age 65 are supposed to be regularly checked; older men should be assessed for risk factors.

2. Bring all the medications in to their doctor for an annual review. Ask the doctor to explain what each pill or medicine is for, why it’s helping your loved one, and if it conflicts with the other medications they are taking. Although medications are meant to improve a person’s health and well-being, every year thousands of people suffer from side effects or poisonous drug interactions.  Seniors who take more medicines and sometimes need different dosing, are especially at risk of harm from their pills. For this reason, it’s a good idea to regularly review all medicines with a doctor, to confirm that each is still needed and is at the correct dosage. Don’t forget to bring in any over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements used, as these can also cause side-effects or affect the body’s response to prescription drugs.

3. Find out if your loved one has had the “one-time only” senior vaccinations. These are the pheumoccal vaccine (one dose after age 65), which helps protect older adults from life-threatening pneumonia, as well as the zoster vaccine (one dose after age 60), which reduces the risk of getting shingles.  Both vaccines are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and other expert panels, but studies have shown that many older adults never get them, even though both pneumonia and shingles are common problems as we age.

Addressing all seven items may not be possible in a single medical visit, especially if your loved one has other acute (i.e. newly worse) or chronic medical conditions you want to ask about. If you don’t feel that everything you’re concerned about has been covered, don’t hesitate to ask for a follow-up appointment (ideally within a few weeks) to wrap up the health maintenance.

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