Help Caregivers Provide Safer, Better Personal Care to the Aged
As we age, various health conditions, as well as the wear and tear that accumulates in our bodies, can make it difficult to perform even very simple tasks such as getting dressed or preparing our meals. When this occurs, the elderly often have limited resources to be able to afford assistance with their personal care.
Unless a relative or concerned friend steps in to help out, older folks typically have few options to be able to remain in their home.
This is one reason why so many teens and young to middle-aged adults are finding themselves in the difficult situation of trying to work or continue their education while caring for an elderly loved one.
According to statistics on caregiving, nearly one-third of the population provides at least 20 hours of care per week for a loved one who is elderly, sick or disabled. So, even if you aren’t assisting someone with their personal care at the moment, it’s very likely that you will do so at some point in the future.
The following list includes a few tips that can make it a bit easier and safer to assist your loved ones with their daily activities.
Dispensing Medication Safely
The elderly typically take more prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies to get relief from aches and pains as well as treat various health conditions. Keeping up with all of the medications and the appropriate times to take them can be quite the challenge.
After all, it can be easy to mix up medications if you or your loved one uses a pill carrier to track with the number of doses of medicine that have been taken during the day. A pill identifier is a handy resource to have as it’s an easy way to verify that you are dispensing the correct medication.
In addition to always verifying medication before giving it to your loved one, it’s a good idea to always check with your pharmacist and ask about possible interactions when your loved one begins taking a new prescription medication or over-the-counter remedy. It’s also wise to not make any changes in the dosing routine without first checking with your healthcare professional.
Taking too much, or too little medication, or mixing it with other medicines or remedies can increase the risk of a serious side effect. Failing to give the correct medications at the correct times can also be signs of elder abuse and neglect, so always follow the doctor’s instructions to ensure that you are providing your loved one the best care possible.
Creating a Safe and Comforting Environment
Whether you care for your loved one in their home or provide care to them in yours, it is important that they are cared for in an environment that is safe and that will support their health. Make certain that you keep all pathways and walkways inside and outside of your home in good repair and free of any debris or other items that can cause your loved one to trip and fall.
Lighting in the home should also be kept bright enough that your loved one can see where they are going and what they are doing. This is especially true when they are engaging in activities that are more likely to strain the eyes in poor lighting, such as reading, doing needlework or other crafts, or even when watching TV.
Conditions such as anemia and arthritis can increase pain levels when it is too cold. Other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, can leave sufferers intolerant of heat. Take steps to control the climate in the home so that it is comfortable to be inside. This means keeping it adequately cooled during hot summer months, and warm during the cold fall and winter months.
As much as possible, try to help your loved one feel as included in the daily activities of other family members. Rather than leaving them shut in one room the entire time, help them stay active by encouraging them to eat their meals with others at the table and to remain involved with other activities occurring elsewhere in the home during the day.
Why You Need a “Plan B”
Despite your best care, the unexpected can happen. Before you begin caring for your loved one, create an emergency contact list with telephone numbers and contact information for your loved one’s doctor, nearest hospital, fire and police departments, and the local rescue squad.
Create a backup plan and a list of possible replacements in case you unexpectedly fall ill or something else happens that will affect your ability to continue to provide care. Having a backup plan will go a long way to minimizing any disruption created by your temporary absence.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate within yourself and/or life?
I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? And what makes YOU most proud? Any goals and dreams that you still have?
Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.