Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Sheena Van Parys of Home Instead in Harrogate, Ripon, and Thirsk.
A British Red Cross report recently revealed a startling increase in the level of hospital readmissions. Figures showed a 22.8% increase since last year with the number of people being readmitted to hospital within 48 hours accounting for one in five emergency readmissions.
It is often the case that vulnerable people reach a crisis point before they receive support and this is something we at Home Instead want to help prevent. We want to help older people to live well at home for longer and reduce the risk of them being hospitalised.
Here, we offer FIVE ways to help keep your loved one out of hospital.
Get a good GP
Having an excellent GP is essential but equally important is making sure that older people follow their GP’s direction. Our CAREGivers are trained to spot ‘red flag’ changes in health such as worsening chronic conditions or unused medication, and can act to remedy this. They can also assist with transportation to appointments and help with medication management.
Keep physically and mentally active
Encourage your relative to keep active where possible. Walking for just five or 10 minutes at a time several days each week is a great way to begin. Keeping the brain active through activities such as drawing, doing a puzzle or learning something new are great ways to stimulate the connections between nerve cells.
Maintain a healthy diet
Often our appetite diminishes as we age but maintaining a balanced diet is essential. Encourage your loved ones to eat a diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice. Extra vitamin D and calcium should be on the menu to combat osteoporosis
It is important that your family member stays hydrated, even if they say they’re not thirsty. It is advisable to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health so it’s important to encourage social activities such as attending a lunch club or memory café or joining a social club. Home care such as Home Instead can help you with all of the above – from companionship visits to preparing healthy meals – so that your family member can live life well and reduce the risk of going into hospital.
We believe that with the right care, the number of unnecessary hospital admissions can be reduced.
I’d love to hear from you! To make a suggestion for a future Senior Snippets topic, please write to me at [email protected] or by post to Home Instead, Nidderdale House, Station Yard, Ripley HG3 3BA. Alternatively, you can call me on 01423 774490.
Sheena Van Parys