FIRST AID TIPS FOR THE ELDERLY

Taking care of the elderly requires special first aid training as their health concerns are more sensitive and of a more serious nature. Carers of the elderly have to take into consideration their special needs and circumstances when first aid is to be performed. First aid for senior people also needs to be administered with compassion and some gentleness, especially if the patient has dementia or if they are hard of hearing. It must also be mentioned that their mobility may be impaired and so patients is needed when helping them move around, especially using the bathroom. Here are some tips on how to take care and help the elderly:-

Abrasions and Cuts
One major aspect that carers need to consider is the fragility of the elderly and note that their skin tears and bruises more easily. Abrasions, cuts and wounds have to be cleaned immediately since they are at a higher risk for infection. It is therefore essential that first aid kits should be stocked with bandages of different sizes and several antibiotic creams.

Broken Bones and Fractures
Elderly people are prone to falling and their fragile bones often result in broken bones, fractures or sprains. The elderly have more fragile bones due to conditions such as osteoporosis (loss of density in the bone tissue) and should have medical attention after any serious fall. In cases when the elderly you are assisting care of falls down, the first thing you need to do is to check for bleeding and try to control it. You should also make sure that blood circulation is not blocked. This blocked circulation often manifests by the blue colour that appears on fingertips or toes. In first aid courses, carers are taught not to move the victim or attempt to reset the bone. Instead, wrap ice in cloth and gently place it on the affected area until professional help arrives. Keep the patient calm and comfortable reassuring them that they will be alright and help is on its way.

Diabetic Shock
Diabetes Mellitus in maturity can cause emergencies especially if they do not control their sugar intake and medications such as insulin or tablets. The two types of diabetic conditions people should be aware of are low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia). Carers in charge of diabetic patients with low blood sugar should always have some sweets or biscuits with them. If you notice your patient is going into diabetic shock, get the patient to sit down before calling 999 or 112, or your patient’s own GP.

Poisoning
Poisoning happens when the elderly makes a mistake and accidentally takes too much medication or gets confused and ingests the wrong medicine. Carers should get rid of all toxic substances in the home. Medications should also be organised as necessary as the elderly sometimes have difficulty remembering if they have taken their medicine or if they have taken the right dosage. It is a good idea to jot down information like the name of the medicine, the dosage and when it should be taken and keeping copies in the home and in the wallets of both the patient and the carer.

Seizures/Epileptic fits
It is scary to see someone undergoing a seizure, since the person can only ride it out. The basic rule to remember when in charge of someone who suffers from seizures is to keep that person safe until the episode is over and consciousness returns. To better stack the odds in your favour, turn the patient gently on their side and check that they are breathing. Carers are trained to let seizures end naturally. The patient should not be held down as this might cause broken bones, but instead should be consistently reassured in a soft and kind voice.

There are instances when CPR has to be administered. In this situation, the carer should remember that the patient’s bone strength is already severely compromised so be gentle as possible when carrying out CPR.

Taking care of the elderly can become easier if one gets the right first aid training. It is essential to write up your notes after an emergency as this is a requirement by law especially in care homes or hospital environments.