September is National Sickle Cell month. Sickle cell is an incurable disease that causes red blood cells to be malformed. The cells aren’t flexible the way they should be and are shaped like sickles. As a result, they don’t move easily through small blood vessels and can get stuck. These blockages make it hard for oxygen to get to all parts of the body. People with sickle cell disease experience painful episodes. Pain crises, as they are called, are caused by the flow of blood being blocked. Although people with sickle cell can lead full lives, knowing how to manage the condition can make life easier and more comfortable. Below are some tips for helping someone who is living with sickle cell disease.
Use Painkillers Wisely
Over-the-counter painkillers can help to manage pain during a crisis. However, be sure to talk to the doctor about using them safely. If the person with sickle cell is taking other medications, there is a chance the painkillers could interact with them. In addition, using too much of over-the-counter painkillers can be harmful to the kidneys.
Senior care providers can remind older adults to use painkillers when appropriate but monitor them, so they do not take too much.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating well can improve overall health. It can also support the body in producing more healthy red blood cells. The diet should include lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
A senior care provider can assist with planning healthy meals, grocery shopping, and cooking. After the meal, a senior care provider can also clean up the kitchen.
Not drinking enough liquids can lead to dehydration, which can bring on a pain crisis. Aim for about eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. On hot days or during exercise, increase liquid intake even more.
Senior care providers can help older people with sickle cell to drink more water by keeping a bottle of water near them and refilling it often.
Keep Temperature Stable
Being exposed to temperatures that are too hot or too cold can trigger a crisis. Try to keep the temperature of the home as consistent as possible.
A senior care provider can help to keep the house cool in hot weather by turning on the air conditioning and setting up fans. When it is cold, they can ensure the house doesn’t get too cold.
Join a Support Group
Living with sickle cell can be difficult. Joining a support group gives the person a safe place to talk about their condition and their feelings with others who understand.
Senior care can offer transportation to and from support group meetings.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Vestavia, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...