Chronic conditions are common in older adults. These include conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure. While it can be overwhelming to manage these conditions, there are several things you can do to improve your function and management of these diseases. Let’s take a look at strategies for managing chronic conditions in older adults.
Trusted Care Team
A trusted care team can make all the difference in helping you or your loved one manage a chronic condition. These teams are sometimes called interdisciplinary care teams. The teams typically consist of healthcare providers, primary care physicians, specialists, pharmacists, as well as caregivers, and community-based services.
The main goal of this trusted care team is to provide those with chronic conditions with high-quality, patient-centered care. This approach helps ensure that each patient’s health and well-being are addressed, leading to better outcomes and a higher quality of life. Building trust and open communication among team members is key to ensuring that the older adult receives the best care.
Another important strategy for managing chronic conditions is medication management. Consider having regular discussions between you and your healthcare provider about the potential for drug interactions. This is because the use of multiple medications can cause unwanted side effects or adverse reactions. A primary care physician, along with a trusted care team, can help with this aspect of medication management.
Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs
Chronic disease self-management programs are also a huge help to those in the middle of chronic disease. These programs are designed to help individuals take control of their health and manage their symptoms. Typically, they involve education and training on the following topics:
- Healthy lifestyle choices
- Medication management
- Stress management
- Symptom management
These groups also provide support and resources to help set goals, develop action plans, and build confidence in managing your chronic condition.
Some of these groups meet in person, but they are also available online as well as through telehealth. Often they include opportunities for peer support and discussion.
Evidence-based research shows that participation in these programs can lead to improved health outcomes, increased physical activity, and reduced hospitalization rates. Self-management programs can give you the tools you need to help empower you to take an active role in your health and well-being.
One of the most discouraging parts of any chronic health condition is the symptoms. Pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety are all common in chronic diseases. Learning to manage these symptoms can make a huge difference.
Pain management is critical in the management of chronic conditions. Chronic pain can significantly impact your physical and emotional well-being. It can also interfere with your ability to carry out daily activities.
There are various approaches to managing pain, including the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications, physical therapy, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or yoga. In some cases, a combination of these approaches may be recommended.
Working closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best pain management strategy is essential, as what works for one person may not work for another. Additionally, it is important to regularly reassess and adjust the pain management plan as needed to ensure that you remain comfortable.
One of the most common symptoms of chronic conditions is fatigue. This can really affect your quality of life. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and good sleep hygiene can help you get more rest.
Additionally, modifying your daily activities and seeking support from your family and friends can also help manage your fatigue. If you feel like your fatigue is overwhelming, it is best to consult your doctor for their opinion.
Depression and Anxiety Management
Depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions that can be worsened by chronic disease. To effectively manage these conditions, you will want to consider both the physical and emotional aspects. This may involve therapy or medication, or even a combination of both. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and social support are helpful.
Managing chronic illness in older adults requires a personalized approach that addresses the multiple symptoms and challenges. By working closely with a healthcare provider and regularly monitoring and adjusting the treatment plan as needed, older adults can achieve the best possible outcomes.
We Want to Help You!
At Greenbrook Medical, we believe that every senior citizen should be cared for and treated with respect. That’s why we have made it our mission to provide the best possible care for our patients. Contact us today for a consultation or to request an appointment with one of our geriatric doctors!