Nearly 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease. For seniors who wish to age in place at home, it can be a struggle to manage symptoms, avoid costly hospital stays and coordinate the right kind of support.
Fortunately, with increased access to online resources and improved options for in-home care, seniors have more ways than ever before to optimize the management of chronic illness. Here are three ways seniors can manage chronic disease at home.
1. Take Advantage of Online Communities and Resources
Living in the digital age means seniors have access to thousands of resources at their fingertips. Organizations like the National Council on Aging provide interactive maps to find partners and programs for chronic disease management. Many private Facebook groups offer a virtual community for individuals with chronic illnesses to share tips, get new information and feel a sense of belonging. Healthcare brands that specialize in certain chronic illnesses often create content to give “insider information” and share stories of individuals with chronic disease to help inform and connect with their audience.
These are just a few of the resources available online. With many seniors living alone at home, these resources can mean the difference between feeling isolated and having access to many other people managing the same issues.
2. Seek In-Home Care Services
The options for in-home senior care have greatly increased over the last few years. Seniors can now hire virtually any level of care to come to them, increasing their ability to manage their chronic disease at home.
For the senior who has a good handle on their chronic disease management, in-home caregivers can add minor support with basic, day to day tasks and activities, like helping with meals, running errands or assisting with wake-up and bedtime routines. Seniors who need minor medical support can work with a home health aide to monitor vital statistics and manage medications.
Home health nurses provide comprehensive medical care for seniors who need more in-depth support with managing their illness. Whether they need respiratory care, symptom management or pain control, a home health nurse can help reduce costly hospital stays and provide consistent one-to-one care at home.
There are also many other home health care services available, like respiratory care specialists and home health physical therapists. Seniors, in tandem with their health care team, can find exactly the right option for their current level of health.
3. Download a Chronic Disease Management Mobile App
Apps have come a long way in recent years, with hundreds of mobile apps available to help support individuals with chronic illness. Monitoring pain, symptoms, sleep and diet is all a part of managing chronic disease. Luckily, many apps exist to support with each one of these issues.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Pain Diary is an app to help track pain, monitor where it is in the body and even track weather conditions and how they correlate to pain. Seniors can then view their statistics on both short and long-term pain and adjust their care routine as necessary.
- Sleep Cycle analyzes sleep patterns and can be used as an alarm to help wake the user at the optimal time in their sleep cycle. But perhaps more importantly, Sleep Cycle can help pinpoint how sleep patterns (either restless sleep or good quality sleep) might correlate with symptoms or pain.
- Medisafe helps to manage medications, which is an extremely important part of managing chronic disease. The app provides personalized reminders to take medications and vital drug interaction warnings. It also offers refill reminders, so doses are never missed.
The unique combination of ways a senior might manage a chronic illness at home are nearly endless and go beyond even these three tips. We encourage seniors, their loved ones and medical providers to find the formula that works best, so that seniors can enjoy the comforts of home for longer.
Chronic Disease Management for Seniors in Akron, Ohio
If you’re looking for a variety of in-home skilled nursing services and other home health care options to help manage chronic disease, we can help. Let My Family take care of your family. Get a free home health care assessment today.