Posted by FoggyMama - 04/28/08, 11:44 am
10 Timely Tips For Caregivers
For Family Care Givers: Series No. 1
by Rachel King
1. By looking down at a person in a wheelchair, you create an unnecessary hierarchy. Instead, sit at a comfortable distances from the other person in an arrangement that encourages a free-flowing conversation exchange.
2. Shopping can be exhausting, especially when you're already overworked. You can take steps to reduce your exhaustion:
1) Call ahead to see if the store has what you want.
2) Arrive at the store rested and fed.
3) Wear comfortable shoes.
4) Shop during off-hours.
3. As chronic conditions worsen, you take on new responsibilities while the ill person gives up additional autonomy. Recognize it's natural for both of you to grieve your losses.
4. Use an egg carton as a daily prescription dispenser and reminder. Determine what medications are needed for each day and place these pills in a clean egg holder that has the days of the week labeled. Put the container in a conspicuous place where you will remember it, but out of the reach of small children.
5. People with dementia want to control their environment, but too many choices can be overwhelming. The degree of impairment should determine the choices they make. For those with severe dementia, keep it simple. "Which of these two shirts would you like to wear?"
6. If you are caring for someone who is wheelchair-bound and needs transferring help, consider raising the bathroom commode. The differences between the wheelchair and the toilet height puts added strain on your back that can exasperate a potential back injury.
7. As skills start to diminish, look for things that the person is still able to do. For example, while your loved one may not be able to cook the whole meal, she may enjoy peeling the potatoes while you prepare the rest of the dinner.
8. When transporting passengers, who have difficulty getting in and out of your car, place a large plastic bag on the car seat where they will be sitting before they enter. They will be able to get in and out the car more easily.
9. As people get older, they often experience some degree of sensory deprivation. Some suggestions for compensating for those losses are: a) Purchase books with large print and talking tapes; b) Offer a backrub with a nice-smelling lotion; c) Provide foods with varying textures.
10. When caring for others, don't neglect your own needs. A wise old saying goes: "Don't kill the healthy chicken to make soup for the sick one".
Posted by FoggyMama - 04/28/08, 11:36 am
10 Timely Tips for Caregivers
For Family Care Givers: Series No. 2
by Rachel King
Persons with dementia are no longer able to measure the passage of time because of their memory loss. This can result in agitation and anxiety for them when you leave, even when it's for a short time. Use familiar external clues to explain when you will be back. For example: "I'll be back before the school bus drops Jimmy off."
If you're thinking about placing a loved one in a healthcare facility for a lengthy time, consider not only her needs, but your own. What arrangements will allow you and other family members to visit with the least interruptions of your normal pattern of living?
Day care not only alleviates you of some of your caregiving responsibilities, it also provides additional stimulation and socialization for your relative. Many groups providing day care offer their services on a sliding scale fee.
Many elderly and infirm persons find it difficult to sit for an extended period. When you are taking your loved one to a physician or other appointment, call ahead to see if the person she will be seeing is running on time.
A bird feeder placed near your loved one's favorite window where he can look out can shorten winter's long days. A book on various local birds can add to his pleasure.
Taking a few minutes a day to keep in touch with yourself and developing an awareness of what fulfills you is not being selfish. It is believing in your value as a human being.
Save time and energy by shopping by mail, phone, or the Internet. If you must go in person, whenever practical, patronize stores where you can call ahead to have your order ready when you arrive.
Learn all you can about the progression of your loved one's condition and plan to accommodate her changing needs. For example, locate a carpenter now to discuss any future alterations that you may need to make to your house.
The Eldercare Locator is an excellent resource for finding information and local community resources anywhere in the United States. Their toll-free number is 1-800-677-1116. Also check out AgeNet's Resource Directory For Older People.
Elderly persons often have difficulty accepting agency services. Two suggestions for getting them to accept community help:
A). Have a professional person they respect suggest the service, such as their physician.
B). Explain how it will help them remain more independent.
Posted by FoggyMama - 04/28/08, 11:35 am
10 Timely Tips for Caregivers
For Family Care Givers: Series No. 3
by Rachel King Avoid unproductive time in the doctor’s waiting room. Call before leaving for you appointment to see if he or she is running on time. A last minute emergency could still put him or her behind and leave you impatient as you think about all you have to do. Bring along some favorite reading materials, or a small project that you’ve wanted to get done.
Establish a people file of the individuals you’ve done business with (plumber, physician, druggist, hospital personnel, insurance agent, banker, etc.). Include in their file the work they did for you and the results.
Put the telephone numbers of all emergency services and personnel near your telephones. Keep extra copies with you at all times.
If you or your loved one require medication when traveling, don’t pack it in your suitcase. Always carry it in the plane with you. Also, if the prescription requires a cooler temperature, bring a small cooler with you to keep the medication at its proper temperature.
Don’t underestimate the soothing effect of music and the pleasant memories it can bring to mind even with individuals suffering from advanced dementia. Hearing and responding to music is one of the last things to go. While they may no longer be able to verbalize their appreciation, watch their face when you play their favorite song.
Shadowed areas are potential tripping areas for your loved one. Install fluorescent lights, frosted bulbs, shades or globes to reduce glare and to spread light evenly. Avoid high gloss, slippery floors and throw rugs.
When caring for a significant other, negative feelings and emotions are often only a sigh away. When that happens, you need someone who will validate your own reality, however unpleasant it may be. Join a support group or cultivate friendships where you can talk honestly and can feel guilt-free about how you are really doing.
Don’t let what you are doing become more important than the person you are doing it for. For example, a home-cooked meal is wonderful, but sometimes fixing only sandwiches and a salad so that you can take the time to listen to a loved one may be more important and satisfactory for both of you.
Keep a list of things that you’d like to have done "sometime" but are not immediate concerns such as minor repairs and cleaning. The next time individuals ask what they can do to help, let them pick from your list.
Life, to maintain its balance, requires give and take. Don’t be just a caregiver. Take time for yourself too. In other words, be a caretaker too.