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Guidelines for Caring for a Bedbound Older Adult

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Special consideration needs to be given to bedbound seniors. They face many unique challenges, ranging from a heightened risk for skin infections to the potential for life-threatening respiratory problems. Since these risks are real, there are several things you can do for a bedbound senior loved one to ensure he or she remains happy and healthy.

Encourage Sitting Up in Bed

Lying flat on the back may be more comfortable for your loved one. However, staying in this position for long periods may raise the risk for developing pneumonia or other bacterial lung infections. Encourage your loved one to sit up in bed as much as possible and occasionally take deep breaths to promote optimal lung function. Sitting up in bed is especially important for seniors who have recently undergone surgery, because general anesthesia can raise the risk for increased bronchial secretions and pulmonary infections.

Helping a bedbound loved one sit up or turn over can be challenging for some family caregivers to accomplish on their own. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder care, El Dorado County Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Apply Moisturizer

Bedbound seniors are at risk for developing skin breakdown, which may be related to many different causes, including immobility, dehydration, diminished collagen function related to the aging process, and a decreased lipid layer on the skin. It’s important to liberally apply moisturizer to your loved one’s skin to relieve dryness, strengthen the top layer of the skin, and relieve itching. Moisturizing the skin can keep your loved one comfortable and lower the risk for skin tears and excoriation.

Monitor Nutritional Status

Because seniors who are bedbound have special nutritional needs, it’s crucial to monitor your loved one’s nutritional status to ensure he or she is receiving the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals. Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to mobility-related health conditions, such as an increased risk for infection, compromised skin condition, muscle weakness and atrophy, and psychological problems. If you’re unsure of your loved one’s nutritional status, call the doctor for recommendations on dietary supplements or meal replacement shakes to ensure your loved one is well nourished.

Busy family caregivers who find it challenging to prepare nutritious meals should think about enlisting the support of a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. El Dorado County, CA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Prevent Isolation

Being confined to a bed can have a significant impact on a senior’s mental health. If your loved one is bedbound, make sure to spend as much time as you can with him or her. In addition, ask family members and friends to visit as often as possible so your loved one will still have company when you’re unable to be there. Social isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and insomnia. The added stress of isolation may raise the risk for impaired immunity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. If you or other members of the family are unable to stay with your loved one because of other obligations, contact a home care agency to see if they offer companion services to elderly people. 

Skin tears, respiratory issues, and other conditions can be especially problematic for bedbound seniors, who may be more susceptible to infections because of diminished immune function. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional in-home care. El Dorado County families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411 today.