Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack joints and other systems in the body. It causes painful swelling and may lead to deformity in the joints. Because it affects both joints and other parts of the body, it can be difficult for family caregivers to know how to help their aging relative with RA and be effective as a caregiver. Below are some tips for RA caregivers that will help.
Take Care of Yourself First
Caregivers have a tendency to neglect their own needs in favor of spending all their time taking care of their older family member. They don’t eat properly, sleep poorly, and fail to go to their routine medical appointments. If that sounds like you, think twice about what you’re doing. When you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll lack the energy to care for your loved one. You may even find yourself getting sick more often. Some caregivers even land themselves in the hospital because they’ve ignored a health problem. To keep yourself from getting ill, eat a healthy diet, exercise, see your doctor, and get 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night.
Keep Medications Organized
Seniors with RA typically take several different medications. You’ll need to keep their medications organized to ensure the senior takes the proper medicines at the right time. In addition, being organized can prevent dangerous medication errors. To stay organized, keep a complete list of all the medications the senior takes, including non-prescription medicines and supplements. Update the list regularly and provide it to all the senior’s doctors and the pharmacy they use. Also, use only one pharmacy for filling prescriptions. Pharmacies keep computer files of the medicines they fill, which helps the pharmacist to determine if a new medicine will interact with existing prescriptions.
Prepare for Medical Appointments
Most patients don’t get to spend much time with their doctor, which can make them feel pressed for the time they need to get answers to their questions. Prepare for the medical appointment by writing a list of the senior’s questions and your own. Prioritize them by putting the most important ones at the top of the list, so you’ll be sure to ask them.
Caregivers can really benefit from using technology to stay organized and aid with caregiver tasks. For example, when you keep the older adult’s medication list on your smartphone, you’ll have it available in an emergency when you didn’t have time to bring the paper list from home. You can also download apps that help with medication reminders and keep the older adult’s caregiver schedule.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Olney, MD please contact the caring staff at Nest & Care today at (240) 226-3310.