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February is Heart Health Month

Heart Month, which the U.S. has marked every February since the 1960s, is a great time for reminders about healthy diet, regular exercise routine, frequent doctor visits and sticking to medication guidelines.

But following that advice can be one of the greatest challenges to heart health, especially among people over 65 living independently. Some of the most common factors that affect seniors’ healthy practices aren’t due to a lack of awareness, but the ability to follow through on them.

For example, it’s one thing to tell an older loved one that doctor visits are important, but traveling to the doctor’s office on unfamiliar streets or in inclement weather can be a serious obstacle for older people. Scheduling, rescheduling and understanding clearly the advice of medical professionals are additional challenges. If the appointment results in a prescription or a referral to another professional, that requires another trip. Then there is the challenge of managing prescriptions; seniors who have multiple prescriptions can become confused about the timing and dosage of each one.

Supporting the health, safety and security of our loved ones is our primary role as Caregivers, whether as family members or professionals. That requires assisting them in adhering to the practices and treatments recommended by their medical providers.

As those we love age and their cognitive abilities change, this may require more than verbal reminders. When patients with chronic conditions don’t understand their medications, or aren’t aware of potential drug interactions, they quickly can be put at serious risk.

At Home Helpers® Home Care, we train our Caregivers to help the families we serve recognize and address potential situations that can interfere with heart health and other conditions. Some of the common factors our Caregivers encounter are:

  • Poor medication adherence
  • Lack of care coordination among multiple doctors
  • Fear or uncertainty about prescription medications
  • Unintentional patient behavior, such as forgetfulness
  • Physical or cognitive impairments
  • Lack of transportation to fill prescriptions

Our Caregivers often transport clients to medical and other personal appointments and are trained to monitor your loved one’s compliance with their doctors’ advice. In addition to these practical benefits, the presence of the Caregiver is reassuring to the senior loved one and provides peace of mind for families.

In many cases, we recommend our Direct Link® monitoring services to aid in medication adherence. The Direct Link medication dispenser is easy to use and can be programmed either at home or by your local pharmacist. It even offers the option of telephone call reminders at the appropriate times.

Heart health and management of other chronic conditions is vitally important to all. Adhering to medical advice and medication instructions can make a critical difference in controlling chronic conditions and this is especially true in older adults. If you or a loved one needs support in this effort, or if you’d just like to talk about strategies and options, our Caregivers are at your service.