Edema occurs when extra fluids get trapped in the body and cause swelling. It usually occurs in the extremities such as the legs, feet, hands, and arm. The main causes of edema are often medication side affects or an underlying illness in the elderly. If your parent either has a condition (such as kidney disease or congestive heart failure) that causes edema or takes a medication that causes it, you and their home health care aides may find yourselves looking for ways to provide relief for your parent at home.
There are medications you parent can take but there are also non-medication related treatments you can use to bring relief to your parent when her edema flares up and causes discomfort. The following may help reduce edema and prevent it from coming back, but check with your parent’s doctor to determine which are the best for the type of edema your parent suffers from.
Raising the part of the body affected by edema above the heart several times a day may help reduce the fluid trapped in the area of the body. Have a location in the home where your parent can recline and then prop up the swollen areas with pillows. Having someone like a home health care provider around to help your parent get propped into the best position can be beneficial. If edema in her legs is a consistent issue, she might even want to consider propping her legs up when she sleeps each night.
If edema in the legs is an issue, simply moving her legs around more may help the fluid move out of the affected area and disperse throughout the body. Your parent’s doctor may have a list of exercises your parent can perform when edema hits.
Your parent might find relief by wearing a compression sock or sleeve on the area of her body that has edema. Compression garments are usually put on after the swelling has gone down to reduce the risk of more swelling taking place. These garments apply an even pressure to the affected area, preventing fluid from collecting in the area again. They can often be a little difficult to put on (especially on the legs if your parent struggles with bending over). A home health care provider can help by assisting your parent with putting them on as needed.
Massage from a Home Health Care Aide
If you can find a home health care provider or other person trained in how to use massage to treat edema, this might be another great way to reduce your parent’s edema. The massager should stroke the affected area with firm (but not painful) pressure, pushing toward the heart, in order to move the fluid out of the affected area. This massage technique is great when partnered with elevation so it usually requires someone to help your parent with the massage and cannot be performed on oneself very well.
Salt causes fluid to retain in the body so your parent might want to look at reducing her salt intake to proactively combat edema.
If your parent’s edema is getting worse or if it is affecting her quality of life, talk to her doctor about what are the best ways to use at home treatments as well as medications and specialists to help.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Home Health Care Services in Union County NJ, please talk to the caring staff at Generations Home Health Care today. Providing Home Care in Somerset, Essex, Union, Morris and Hunterdon Counties. Call us today at (908) 290-0691 or (973) 241-4534.
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