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5 Poor Decisions Family Caregivers Should Avoid

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While family members play an important role in caring for their elderly loved ones, there are certain decisions better left to medical professionals, social service personnel, and even the senior. Here are five decisions family caregivers should never make.

1. Discontinuing Medication

While effective in managing chronic health conditions and pain, certain medications can cause dangerous side effects. When side effects or adverse reactions occur, your loved one may not want to take the medicine anymore. You should never discontinue a medication without first consulting with your loved one’s doctor because it could place your loved one at risk for dangerous medical consequences. For example, if blood pressure medications, known as beta blockers, are abruptly discontinued instead of gradually weaned, your loved one may experience a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia or dangerous spike in blood pressure. Discontinuing aspirin abruptly can cause a stroke, heart attack, or blood clot. Many seniors are prescribed a daily aspirin to thin the blood, and when they stop taking it, their blood may become thicker and clot too quickly, leading to a cerebral event.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, an Oklahoma City home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

2. Modifying a Therapeutic Diet

Many seniors are on therapeutic diets such as low sodium, low protein, and diabetic diets. While medical diets can be unappealing to certain people, family caregivers should never make the decision to alter these diets. The aging process often causes taste alterations and can sometimes make food taste bland, bitter, or metallic. If your loved one complains about the taste of his or her food, speak with a physician prior to making any dietary changes. A therapeutic diet is an important intervention in the management of certain diseases, and altering it in any way could have detrimental effects on your loved one’s health. 

3. Restricting Visitors

Family caregivers should never decide who should and who should not visit their loved ones. If your loved one is not cognitively impaired and can make independent decisions, you should not restrict visitors. The only time you should consider restricting visitors is when your loved one is very tired or ill. Seeing family and friends is important for preventing feelings of social isolation and sadness. 

4. Neglecting Hygiene Practices

Fatigue, pain, limited mobility, and depression can cause elderly individuals to neglect their hygiene. Caregivers should never decide to allow their loved one to stop bathing or maintaining a healthy oral hygiene regimen because these changes could cause serious skin conditions, infection, tooth loss, and gum disease. If your loved one does not feel up to showering or brushing his or her teeth, offer assistance. If your loved one feels too weak to step into the bathtub or take a shower, suggest a sponge bath. Bed or sponge baths should be restricted to seniors who are incapacitated or too sick to take a full bath or shower. 

If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Oklahoma City seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

5. Stopping Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be tiring, and it takes work and dedication to reach certain goals. Older people, especially those who have recently undergone hip replacements or other orthopedic surgery, need physical therapy to regain their strength, mobility, and range of motion. Caregivers should never decide to discontinue their loved one’s physical therapy, even if he or she does not feel like participating in the program. If you feel your loved one can no longer tolerate therapy, call the doctor.

If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elderly care, Oklahoma City Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. Call us at 405-285-4191 to learn about our premier in-home care plans.