A member asked:

Please share some do's and don'ts when it comes to caring for an elderly person.

107 doctors weighed in across 105 answers
Dr. Jeffrey Wint answered

Specializes in Hand Surgery

Among: Among elderly women in whom calcium intake is impaired, high caffeine can lead to bone loss.

Answered 4/17/2014

5.3k views

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Dr. Heidi Fowler answered

Specializes in Psychiatry

DON’T: Don’t forget that tai chi can improve sleep quality (especially in the elderly).

Answered 9/29/2016

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Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis answered

Specializes in Family Medicine

Building: Building calcium stores as youth helps delay onset of bone loss in elderly.

Answered 9/29/2016

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Keep: Keep stairways uncluttered and well lit. A fall down a staircase can be devastating.

Answered 7/28/2016

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If: Myth: if you walk with a cane, you won't fall.

Answered 6/27/2014

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Dr. William Carlos answered

Specializes in Critical Care

Good: Good to check their weight regularly to make sure they are getting enough nutrition.

Answered 10/23/2013

5.2k views

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Dr. Suzanne Fiala answered

Specializes in Family Medicine

Make: Make sure they are able to perform their adl's (activities of daily living) or put supports in place.

Answered 7/6/2014

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Dr. Suzanne Fiala answered

Specializes in Family Medicine

DO: Do make sure they are safe with whatever resources they need. Don't treat them as children. Respect.

Answered 8/3/2013

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DON'T: Don't leave elderly alone in a car on a warm day! they are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke.

Answered 4/7/2014

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An: An elderly person needs a purpose in life. Help them feel needed and appreciated.

Answered 4/22/2014

5.2k views

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Dr. Aruna Bakhru answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Be: Be patient, kind and loving. Treat them as you would a baby. Tender loving care as they gave you.

Answered 8/20/2013

5.2k views

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Dr. Teresa Iribarren answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Home: Home environment with good lighting, no area rugs, firm rails on stairs and good social support.

Answered 4/27/2013

5.2k views

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Stay: Stay patient when your older relative repeats the same story again and again; they can't help it.

Answered 5/27/2014

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Your: Your older relative is more likely to do something if they think it's their idea! be creative.

Answered 9/29/2016

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Don't: Don't treat them like they are children. Respect them. Remember, they've seen and done it all!

Answered 4/6/2014

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Dr. Victor Bonuel answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Talk: Talk to their doctor about their health. Encourage them to exercise. Learn from their wisdom on life!

Answered 8/29/2013

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Care for Elderly: It is tough to care for a loved one and important you make some " me time" for yourself.

Answered 8/21/2013

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Living with Elderly: One tip is get a baby monitor for night care and have a private place for yourself.

Answered 9/29/2016

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Dont's: Do not argue with the elderly assuming they have dementia.

Answered 4/16/2014

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More: More elderly women than men die of heart disease, so make sure grandma gets her heart testing done!

Answered 4/16/2016

5.1k views

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Dr. William Harris answered

Specializes in Family Medicine

It: It is too harsh to say, "do no resuscitate!" instead, say, "allow natural death." this eases minds.

Answered 5/22/2015

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Ask: Ask their doctor for a "gait evaluation" if you think they are at risk for falling. Prevention helps!

Answered 5/19/2014

5.1k views

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Dr. Tod Haller answered

Specializes in Ophthalmology

ALL: All high BP pts must have a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist yearly. Not eyeglass store exams!

Answered 6/10/2014

5.1k views

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To: To reduce the risk of falling, have one's hearing checked.

Answered 5/26/2014

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Dr. Charles Breaux answered

Specializes in Pediatric Surgery

As: As your doctor, if i give you a prescription, get it filled & take the medication. If you have questions, ask.

Answered 10/5/2013

5.1k views

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Dr. Richard Williams answered

Specializes in Pharmacy

Is: Is the person in pain. Even people with dementia can display pain signals which may go unnoticed.

Answered 8/4/2013

5.1k views

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Dr. Thomas Namey answered

Specializes in Rheumatology

Elder: Elder care is hard on you, your family, and loved ones. You always need a break!

Answered 5/17/2014

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Provide: Provide safe environment . Monitor their diet, medication compliance, and doctors' visits.

Answered 7/4/2014

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Dr. Mohammed Parvez answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Always: Always keep them well hydrated as they may not be aware of their hydration.

Answered 6/28/2013

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Dr. Mohammed Parvez answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

It: Myth - it is tough to take care of elderly people, and also boring. Reality - it is not!

Answered 10/21/2013

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Don't: Don't discount person's mental power due to age. Respect.

Answered 7/4/2013

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Dr. Lynne Weixel answered

Specializes in Clinical Psychology

Work: Work with, talk with, be with instead of... Work for, talk to, be detached. Increase involvement.

Answered 7/8/2013

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Dr. Lynne Weixel answered

Specializes in Clinical Psychology

Do: Do ask for help in whatever way the elder can assist you. Don't forget that slowly is not can't.

Answered 5/30/2014

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Dr. Steven Charlap answered

Specializes in Holistic Medicine

Do: Do call an elderly person today. They will be glad for the call.

Answered 6/9/2014

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

Honoring: Honoring your father and mother, means caring for them, better than they have for you.

Answered 9/11/2013

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

Get: Get your parents proper "long term care" insurance before they need it.

Answered 10/18/2013

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

Greatest: Greatest risk of suicide is elderly men and young men. Elderly men who lost their wives at great risk.

Answered 9/9/2015

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

Their: Myth: their minds are mush. Far from the truth! even those who are seemingly not communicating.

Answered 9/29/2013

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Dr. Alan Ali answered

Specializes in Psychiatry

Tactile: Tactile stimulation helps put a smile on their face. Hold their hand.

Answered 3/11/2016

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Exercise: Exercise patience. Treat the person as if you would your own parents. Watch for non-verbal cues.

Answered 11/21/2013

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Old: Old doesn't mean wise! old doesn't mean easy! be prepared to things you might not expect!

Answered 3/3/2014

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Don't: Don't argue if you feel your argument is not well taken. Be ready for things before they happen.

Answered 4/12/2014

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Don't: Don't apply force where you normally would. The bones are fragile in the elderly.

Answered 5/17/2014

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

Treat: Treat them like you would want to be treated. Not how they treated you, even better, no matter what.

Answered 10/15/2013

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Dr. Heidi Fowler answered

Specializes in Psychiatry

If: If you find yourself impatient with an elderly person, just remember that you will grow old someday.

Answered 4/2/2015

4.9k views

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Dr. Dale Tylor answered

Specializes in ENT - Head & Neck Surgery - Pediatric

The: The hearing impaired need help to converse. Look at them, talk slowly, and let them read your lips.

Answered 5/13/2014

4.9k views

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Dr. Dale Tylor answered

Specializes in ENT - Head & Neck Surgery - Pediatric

Make: Make sure there aren't obstacles that can cause falls in the home - furniture, rugs, or clutter.

Answered 11/6/2013

4.9k views

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Dr. Ravi Chand answered

Specializes in Psychiatry

Do: Do assist respectfully for adls, do talk respectfully, don't assume or treat them like children.

Answered 7/7/2014

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Caregivers: Caregivers often suffer, so pay attention to your needs and get help with your symptoms asap.

Answered 8/29/2013

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Be: Be kind and understanding, ask for additional help when you need it.

Answered 8/25/2013

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Dr. Jodi Luchs answered

Specializes in LASIK Surgery

Be: Be sure to have their eyes checked. Good vision prevents falls and improves their quality of life.

Answered 11/15/2014

4.9k views

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Be: Be patient. Be a good listener. Make sure they are current with a physician.

Answered 10/29/2015

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Dr. Harold Peltan answered

Specializes in Ophthalmology

Be: Be patient and listen. It can take a little longer for an elderly person to tell you what they need.

Answered 9/18/2013

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Dr. Peter Karsant answered

Specializes in Dentistry

Take: Take their elbow bend your knees have them take your elbow both pull together as they stand up.

Answered 2/12/2015

4.9k views

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Dr. Peter Karsant answered

Specializes in Dentistry

Be: Be patient, treat them with dignity; we all get there.

Answered 2/4/2015

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Dont: Dont shout at them and talk to them like they are small children unless they have conditions.

Answered 9/28/2016

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Dr. Bradford Romans answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Help: Help to be sure all meds are being taken regularly.A weekly pill organizer can help.

Answered 3/17/2015

4.9k views

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Dr. Marsha Davis answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Do: Do expect some resistance. Don't give in but gracefully figure out a way around it.

Answered 4/7/2015

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Dr. Marsha Davis answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Auth: A myth about caring for the elderly is that it is all hard work and no joy.

Answered 7/16/2017

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Dr. Marsha Davis answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

To: To take better care of an elderly try to figure out how the person is feeling.

Answered 11/12/2013

4.9k views

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Dr. Parham Gharagozlou answered

Specializes in Sleep Medicine

Don't: Don't leave an elderly person alone after hospitalization. Go to follow up appointments.

Answered 4/30/2015

4.9k views

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Dr. Parham Gharagozlou answered

Specializes in Sleep Medicine

Don't: Don't argue with them let things go. This will increase agitation.

Answered 5/3/2015

4.9k views

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

Do: Do hold your grandparents hand when walking in public, in a park or at the mall. I know you are 20!

Answered 9/16/2013

4.9k views

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Dr. Christopher Khorsandi answered

Specializes in Plastic Surgery

With: With elderly patients, remember to take extra time to explain things. As we age we process slower.

Answered 1/23/2018

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

If: If one parent dies, another parent may develop chest pain at being told. Take that seriously. 911.

Answered 4/3/2016

4.9k views

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When: When caring for elderly, really listen to their stories. They have so much wisdom to impart....

Answered 4/26/2017

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Dr. I. Jay Freedman answered

Specializes in Dentistry

Don't: Don't skip the dentist to save $, as the results of neglect often cost more than prevention!

Answered 12/9/2013

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Dr. I. Jay Freedman answered

Specializes in Dentistry

Don't: Don't skip routine x-rays at routine dental exams when they're due. Simple problems r found earlier!

Answered 12/10/2013

4.9k views

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Dr. I. Jay Freedman answered

Specializes in Dentistry

A: A myth is that that elderly people don't care about their appearance due to their age!

Answered 12/16/2013

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Ask: Ask an optician to measure and record a confused elder's eyeglass rx, in case they are ever lost.

Answered 9/15/2013

4.9k views

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Dr. Robert Kent answered

Specializes in Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine

Monitor: Monitor for pressure wounds. Risk factors include thin person and skin, friction, moisture, pressure.

Answered 9/15/2013

4.9k views

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Dr. Robert Kent answered

Specializes in Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine

Its: Its not a myth, but more the truth. It is rewarding! our elders are our history/foundation.

Answered 9/15/2013

4.9k views

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Desk: Desk lamps, hand magnifiers and large print books are simple solutions to partial sight.

Answered 9/20/2013

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Do: Do speak to elders against a wall or in the corner to amplify the sound. Project but do not shout.

Answered 7/4/2014

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Treat: Treat them as kids take care and listen to them with patience and see the magic.

Answered 10/3/2015

4.8k views

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A: A happy and healthy caregiver takes care of elderly person better, so give some time to yourself.

Answered 7/4/2014

4.8k views

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Make: Make sure you are communicating clearly; never treat an elder as a child.

Answered 10/23/2013

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The: The elderly may be slower ; have memory loss, but they are not children. Do not treat them like kids.

Answered 10/13/2015

4.8k views

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Dr. Michael Roberts answered

Specializes in Family Medicine

Ignore: Know their limits but don't limit them... Let them do what they enjoy as long as it is safe!

Answered 11/5/2013

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Don't: Don't forget u will be old some day. Be kind, thoughtful and care 4 ur elders, ur kids learn from u.

Answered 11/16/2013

4.7k views

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Dr. Michael Wexler answered

Specializes in Cosmetic Dentistry

Ignore: Help them brush, preferably with an electric toothbrush, and don't forget to help them floss nightly.

Answered 11/18/2013

4.7k views

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Dr. Jane Steiner answered

Specializes in Psychiatry

Ignore: It may not be dull or boring. If you try to ask that person about his life, you could learn a lot!

Answered 9/29/2016

4.7k views

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Ignore: Do encourage them to do what they can for themselves. Do not make them more dependent on you than isnecessary.

Answered 11/30/2013

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Ignore: If they are a parent, be patient and loving towards them as they were towards you as a child. Remember, you our next in line. .

Answered 11/30/2013

4.7k views

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Dr. John Michalski answered

Specializes in Orthopedic Surgery

Ignore: Do make a safe home environment to prevent falls. Remove loose rugs floor cords.

Answered 12/27/2013

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Ignore: It is helpful to monitor medications closely- either use pill case or give them the meds directly.

Answered 12/22/2013

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Ignore: Elders should stay acctive- they should not just be made to sit around. Being active is good.

Answered 10/31/2015

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Ignore: Do not ignore sudden changes in mental status. It may suggest infection or other problem.

Answered 12/22/2013

4.7k views

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Dr. Ihab Ibrahim answered

Specializes in Pain Management

It: It starts at home. But doesn't end there. Know what you can handle.

Answered 12/31/2013

4.6k views

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Ignore: Do accept or hire help from others. Make time for self-care every day, at least an hour!

Answered 1/19/2014

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Ignore: Kindness is listening to their story, sharing a meal regularly. We do better when we are not lonely.

Answered 9/29/2016

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Dr. Peter Ihle answered

Specializes in Orthopedic Surgery

Ignore: Compassion, listen 2 what they say, b conversant, read between the lines, b supportive ; gentle.

Answered 2/5/2014

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Ignore: Be sure to take care of yourself as well as the one you are caring for.

Answered 2/11/2014

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Ignore: Be very patient. Don't get frustrated if the elder patient is slow.Be positive and have good humor.

Answered 2/14/2014

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Ignore: Frustrated? "just breathe. Sometimes you're only a few breaths away from feeling better."amy pelhler.

Answered 9/28/2016

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Dr. Keshab Paudel answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Ignore: Support them no change of room or house environment no benzodiazepines.

Answered 5/5/2014

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Ignore: Elderly people are like kids a kind and soft approach is very good and good listening skill.

Answered 5/2/2014

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Ignore: Do give them as much autonomy as possible.

Answered 7/2/2014

3.9k views

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Dr. Aurea Tomeski answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Ignore: Fall prevention is very important in caring for the elderly.

Answered 7/4/2014

3.9k views

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Dr. Silviu Pasniciuc answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Ignore: Watch closely when changing position, small bites when eating, check skin daily if bed bound.

Answered 7/13/2014

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Ignore: A fall is not just a fall. Deeper evaluation is needed to avoid further complications.

Answered 7/18/2014

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Ignore: *Always keep an up to date list of all medications. *love them. Depression is common among elderly.

Answered 4/3/2016

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Dr. Larry Eastburn answered

Specializes in Family Medicine

Ignore: Be kind to the elderly, remember you're not getting any younger. Listen and talk to them.

Answered 7/27/2014

3.8k views

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Ignore: Make sure they are well hydrated and get daily exercise. Being sedentary can go downhill fast.

Answered 12/26/2014

3.4k views

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Ignore: Regular visits with geriatrician or primary care physician important in prevention & early diagnosis.

Answered 3/15/2015

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