When it comes to seniors with memory issues, several areas of life that already might be stressful or confusing can become even more so. One such area, and one that’s particularly important for seniors who may also have other health risks, is emergency room visits.
At Cozy Retire, our services include memory care and detailed, professional assistance anytime a medical emergency is taking place for any of our residents. For caregivers outside an assisted living facility, what are some basic areas of importance to remember if an emergency room visit is necessary for a loved one who deals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia?
Hospitals and emergency rooms are already stressful and sometimes confusing places, and you have to remember that all of this will be exacerbated for seniors who have memory problems. One great tactic to help keep them a bit more comfortable is ensuring they’re never alone – you and any other caregivers or family members should always make sure they have someone familiar to converse with. This person can also help them communicate with doctors, nurses and other medical staff who they may be uncomfortable with on their own.
This is a theme that should be observed in multiple areas. For starters, do your best to explain to your senior loved one the purpose of this hospital visit if they’re conscious and able to understand – you may have to repeat details several times or help them with confusion here.
Just as importantly, though, is immediately informing emergency room staff that your loved one has a memory condition. If it’s more comfortable to step into the hall and do this where your loved one cannot hear, go ahead and do this. In some cases, families with senior loved ones who have Alzheimer’s or related conditions may create small information cards or laminates that can be shared with hospital staff or others who need to know about the condition. The sooner medical staff know about the memory condition, the better they’ll be able to incorporate it into their care.
For starters, to help your loved one feel a bit more comfortable, take a quick minute before you leave home to grab a comfort bag of sorts. Include activities to keep yourself and your loved one entertained if there’s any waiting time, plus approved snacks if appropriate. If your loved one has issues with incontinence, remember to bring some briefs and a change of clothes for them.
In addition, it’s important to bring the following insurance and medical information:
It’s important to ask regular questions as your loved one receives emergency room care. They may not be fully capable of understanding or remembering exactly what’s happening, so you need to take careful notes and be sure you have a handle on any treatments or actions you need to take. If you’re confused about something, even a small detail, ask staff for clarification.
For more on keeping seniors with memory loss comfortable and safe in the emergency room, or to learn about any of our senior living services, speak to the caregivers at Cozy Retire today.