Floods, earthquakes, tornados, snowstorms . . . wherever you live, there likely exists the potential for a variety of natural disasters that can create an emergency situation. When you're caring for a loved one, it's times like these that you'll be thankful for having prepared for such a situation.
As you face aging and the need to make plans for your future, you face having to make decisions about many aspects of your lives. These legal and health care decisions not only protect you from others making decisions for your care that you do not want, they also protect family and loved ones by giving them guidance in the care that you would like to receive. After completing all the legal paperwork, the next step is to sit down and talk to family about the decisions you have made and why.
Tips to help caregivers move or transfer a loved one with mobility limitations
Learn proper body mechanics. Ask for a Physical Therapy referral from your physician to teach you how to use your body so you don’t get hurt.
Save your back. If you feel a strain, get help; don’t do it alone. This is for your safety and the safety of the person you are trying to move. If you hurt your back, you aren’t going to be able to care for someone else.
Avoid food fights. Make mealtime as pleasant as possible. Encourage someone to eat but don’t demand, cajole or threaten.
Someone with dementia may not know what he/she wants to eat. If giving choices, give only two things to choose between. Even if a choice is made, the person may not want it when it is presented. Don’t take it personally. If you know his/her favorite foods, have them available for back up. Favorite foods might change.
Moving is a high-stress life event, the experts tell us, and they're right. Whether it's cross-town or cross-country, whether to a small apartment or a large suburban home, tackling the organizing, packing, discarding, cleaning, paperwork and the myriad other tasks is a major challenge.
When you're older and moving from the family home to a new smaller residence, possibly in a new community or your adult child's home, sorting through decades of family history and possessions can feel overwhelming—even paralyzing.
Set up the bathroom to make it as easy as possible for the person to get on to and off of the toilet, e.g. having a raised toilet seat and grab bars.
Notice when the person gives a sign about needing to use the toilet, e.g. agitation, fidgeting, tugging on clothing, wandering, touching the genital area. Have a routine and take the person to the bathroom on a regular schedule, e.g. every two hours. You may have to respond quickly if someone indicates they need to use the bathroom.
Talk to the physician to see if medication, enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection might be causing the problem, especially if there is a sudden onset of incontinence.
Investigate various incontinence supplies. There are many kinds of pads and underwear. Each person will have different needs and different products will work best for each one. A pad inside pull up underwear will provide increased absorption. Do not call them adult diapers, but rather protective underwear.
Simplify clothing choices by putting out an outfit for the care receiver to wear, or give an option of two outfits. Do not ask open-ended questions like, "What do you want to wear?"—this kind of question can overwhelm someone with dementia.
2015 was a tumultuous year for our family. I had retired from my job as an RN the previous fall, had spent a delightful winter in the south (as Wisconsin winters were no longer welcome to our bodies or souls!) and returned to our home to be caregivers to our house and gardens.