Training for Everyday Caregiving

This  educational series  delves into the various aspects of taking care of a loved one. It provides valuable information and techniques which could be of great assistance to caregivers. The videos are demonstrated in a way a caregiver can easily relate to and understand.

1. How To Move A Loved One With Mobility Issues

When moving a loved one who has mobility issues one should be aware of their own limitations and what they can or cannot lift. The proper stance should be maintained so that there is no strain on the back. Before moving a loved one, it is helpful to explain what they intend on doing to make the process easier.

There are helpful pieces of equipment such as a gait belt or a grab bar near the toilet seat which can make movement easier for the loved one. The video also demonstrates helpful techniques that can be applied when supporting a loved one on and off the toilet or in and out of the car or bed. It also advises what to do in the case of a fall to ensure minimum injury.

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2. Eating the Right Way

When planning a meal for a loved one, take their personal taste, medicines, and allergies into consideration. It would be best to stick to a nutritious diet that they would not be reluctant to eat and add fruits, vegetables, and fiber in their diet. The caregiver must be aware of which food items could be potent keeping their medication in mind. They should also be mindful of food allergies and immediately report any strange symptoms to the doctor.

Caregiver should  be organized and consider creating a dietary schedule as this can then be recorded and shared with the doctor when required. Hygiene is of utmost importance while cooking and salt and sugar levels should be kept in check. Adding seasoning, spices, and herbs to bland dishes and compensating meals with healthy snacks and nutritional liquids in case of loss of appetite are viable options. Challenges with eating or swallowing should be noted and food that can prove to be a potential hazard should be avoided.

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3. Dental Health and Hygiene

The video highlights health issues that arise as a result of poor oral health. Gum infections breed bacteria which can result in pneumonia. The best way to avoid such issues is by regular brushing of teeth and frequent visits to the dentist. Alcohol 3 pH balanced and hydrating mouthwashes should be used in cases of dry mouth caused due to medication. Flossing is crucial as it keeps gum infections away. A floss pick or oral irrigator could be a relatively viable option rather than a string. A loved one who refuses to brush or floss, must be urged to rinse if nothing else.

In challenging situations where a loved one retreats from dental care, a caregiver must be calm, patient, and gentle with their loved one. A dentist plays a key role and therefore should be someone who is aware of the patient’s history and sensitive to their condition. It is mandatory to take them to the dentist every six months.

There are certain points to be kept in mind when it comes to dentures. It should be washed daily and not be worn overnight. It must be comfortable to wear and fit perfectly as well. Additionally, the video also emphasizes the significance of testing for oral cancer and urges caregivers to not overlook the matter as it is generally not given as much importance as it deserves.

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4. Activities of Daily Living

A caregiver needs to be extremely cautious when it comes to helping a loved one with activities of dressing and bathing. These are activities that cannot be hurried through and need to be done step by step. The caregiver should make it a comfortable environment for the loved one. The loved one should be given as much privacy as possible and the caregiver should only step in if the loved one is unable to do something by themselves. The caregiver must always inform the loved one before every step. In cases of dementia, the loved one will require the caregiver to prompt and guide them.

Grab bars, detachable shower hose, and bath chair or bench are handy pieces of equipment to have in the bathroom. When bathing, it would be advisable to go with warm water and mild water pressure. Wrapping a towel around the loved one to make them feel comfortable works too. The video also offers an insight into the smallest things that if done right during the bathing process can make it a far less tedious task for a loved one.

It is also advisable to regularly file their fingers and toenails for hygiene purposes after bathing. Electric shavers are worth investing in as it provides a degree of ease and confidence to the loved one to be able to do it on their own. Razors instead should be handled by the caregiver.

When it comes to dressing, it is advisable to keep it as simple as possible and to avoid clothes having several zippers and buttons as that can prove to be a hassle for the loved one. In cases where the loved one can dress on their own, help out by laying out the clothes beforehand for them as they can easily get exasperated by having to choose. Comfortable and non-slippery footwear is a must.

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5. Dealing With A Loved One’s Incontinence Problems

The first step would be to get accustomed to the loved one’s toileting routine and become familiar with any signs they might show to suggest the same. It would be better to build upon it by establishing certain time periods to visit the bathroom. This acts as a preventive measure against mishaps. A loved one might often make trips to the bathroom during the night and so night lights are required in order to guide them. Also, signs can be put up on the doors in order to help them further. Keeping supplies of medical gloves and wipes is essential.

If it were to reach a critical stage, it would be advisable to contact the family physician at once. Food or medications can also cause such a reaction and a simple prescription suggested by the doctor can help terminate the problem. If skin rashes or itchiness were to occur as a result of incontinence, doctor’s advice should be sought out at once.

A caregiver should ensure that the loved one’s clothing is not a hindrance during constant visits to the bathroom.  A caregiver’s support and patience can go a long way in making a loved  feel better, as these situations can be very disturbing for them.

Specialized continence supplies are  handy in taking care of leakage and odor. Taking precautions such as covering the bed with a rubber sheet and placing a bed pad on the mattress helps curtail the situation at hand.

With a bit of planning and monitoring the caregiver can ensure that the issue does not go out of hand and the loved one can continue to live an independent life.

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6. Combating Change In Behavior Patterns 

There are certain signs that a person can pick up on if they wish to ascertain whether their loved one suffers from memory loss. If the condition were to deteriorate even further, the warning signs would be a general loss in being able to socialize, a tendency to get lost, improper behavior and they might even start experiencing hallucinations. This can have adverse effects on the loved one as well as the caregiver’s mental health. Caitlin Morgan reminds us that the loved one cannot be held accountable for their actions and so the caregiver must be careful around a loved one as anger and frustration can make matters worse.

It is imperative that a loved one be kept in an environment that is peaceful and soothing. Loud noise, harsh light and a difference in temperature can agitate a loved one. A good night’s sleep and proper nutrition are crucial. While helping out with household tasks, a loved one should be instructed in a manner that they can understand. While laying out clothes for them, they should be arranged in such a way that they know the order to wear them. Small things as these go a long way in making the loved one’s life easier.

Caregivers who have to take care of patients dealing with dementia must be aware of the phenomena of sun-downing which suggests that patients of dementia feel worse by late-afternoon or evening. The video also offers suggestions on how to deal with it including limiting caffeinated drinks among others.

People suffering from dementia often tend to replicate their schedule from before or try to look for something. This often occurs when the loved one is in an unpleasant state of mind and as a result, it makes them wander off. This can prove to be especially challenging for the caregiver. The video suggests coping mechanisms for the same. 

The video further focuses on therapies that are useful for dementia patients. It also demonstrates examples in order to get a clearer understanding of utilizing the therapies. If the loved one has reached a certain stage, it might be difficult for a caregiver to get through to them. Maintaining eye contact, being optimistic and a gentle touch can comfort a loved one. 

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7. Avoiding Caregiver Burnout Through Self-Care

A caregiver must ensure that they take out time to do the activities that they love. Sometimes, they might be reluctant to ask family members for help but do not hesitate to reach out. The loved one’s well-being is of primary importance but so is the caregiver’s.  Caregivers should not neglect their own diet, sleep, and exercise in the process of taking care of their loved ones. Maintaining a journal cataloging the sleep, diet, and exercise schedule can benefit a caregiver. They often tend to forget themselves while looking after their loved one so they should pamper themselves occasionally by getting a spa treatment or even by getting a haircut. Attending a spiritual activity or taking a walk outside can help a caregiver find peace and brighten their spirits.

Listening to other caregiver’s personal struggles can help a caregiver realize that they are not alone and eventually open up about their own personal struggle. Thus support groups can help considerably. A support group is a non-judgmental space where emotions such as fear, anger, and grief can be expressed. Also, it helps to acquire resources that might be required.

Caregivers should remember to be patient, gentle, and kind with themselves in order to be better caregivers to their loved ones.

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Source: Family Caregiver Alliance

This You Tube video has been curated by Caregiver Saathi. All Rights are Reserved with the original publisher and creators

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