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The Importance of Educating Seniors about Health Risks

By Debbie Waddell, 8:00 am on

All too often, health care professionals provide less patient education to seniors, sometimes thinking that the patient will not understand it, forget it or not be compliant with it. However, at Placer County Home Care Assistance, we think it’s extremely important to educate our senior clients about their health risks – knowledge is power! No one is ever too old to learn, and certainly never too old to learn more about health and ways in which it can be improved.

One of the main reasons that seniors should become familiar with health risks is because most common age-related disease are preventable, at least in part, and can be positively affected by a healthy lifestyle. Being overweight or obese, for instance, increases the risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, decreased mobility and increased pain. Teaching seniors how to maintain or achieve a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of developing these serious conditions.

Secondly, even if a disease is not preventable, learning how to manage that disease is certainly the next best thing. For instance, a diabetic who can accurately track his or her blood sugars, who knows how to inject insulin and who understands how to treat an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) will generally do much better than a diabetic who does not know how to do these things. The difference between the two is often a matter of education.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, education can make a senior feel empowered about his or her health. If a senior understands more about disease processes and how to manage or prevent them, they will feel invested and will likely participate in the plan of care. And with studies showing that patients who are compliant tend to have better outcomes than patients who are not, this sense of empowerment and investment generally has a positive influence on overall quality of life.

So take the time out to talk to your loved one about their health. If you are not able to answer any questions they have, arrange to meet with your doctor and give them adequate time to discuss their concerns. This investment will pay off later in dividends of better health.

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