Are you caring for a home bound elderly loved one? You are not alone. 80% of caregivers are unpaid family members of home bound individuals.
MAS Home Care understands this can be a difficult and trying time in your life. You are undoubtedly a good person for taking on the task of providing home care to a family member or loved one – but it’s human to feel overwhelmed and mentally drained when you take on the role of full time caregiver.
It will be in everyone’s best interest to make your loved one as comfortable in the home as they can possibly be. When the patient feels secure and content, it’s less likely they will become agitated or aggressive. We’ve compiled some tips for you to reference – small changes you can make that will reduce stress for you as well as your loved one.
Tip #1. When caring for an elderly loved one, especially one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, consistently keep meals at the same times every day. Plan meals ahead of time. Avoid giving too many options for meals:
“Would you like a tuna sandwich? Maybe a bowl of soup? How about some casserole?”
This can be confusing for your loved one, and even small decisions like what to have for lunch can cause anxiety. Try this:
“We’re having chicken salad sandwiches for lunch! I know how much you love chicken salad.”
Tip #2. Buy a lightweight water pitcher and keep it full. Keep it in an easily accessible place for your loved one. Gently remind them to keep drinking the water. Staying hydrated is important for their overall health and well-being.
Tip #3. If your loved one likes watching TV, buy a remote control with large numbers. Same goes for the phone – if they still chat on the phone with friends and family members, make sure to buy a phone with an over sized keypad they can use. Digital clocks with large numbers placed around the home would also be beneficial for your loved one.
Tip #4. Keep all of their belongings organized and easily accessible. This goes for clothes, too. Picking out an outfit will be much easier if clothes are neat and orderly (shirts on one side of the closet, pants on the other, etc).
Tip #5. Allow your loved one to make as many of their own decisions as possible. This helps them to feel in control. The important thing is to limit choices, as too many can be overwhelming.
Tip #6. Know what they love, and do those things with them often. Play cards. Talk to them about their memories. Watch an old movie with them. Bake cookies. Take walks, or just sit outside on nice days.
And if you, as the caregiver, are feeling overwhelmed – take a step back and a deep breath. It’s okay to ask for help if you need it. Many home care agencies (including MAS Home Care!) offer respite care if you need a break. Remember, we’re here to help!