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.
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.
Dental hygiene is important for overall health. Poor dental hygiene may lead to heart disease, gingivitis, stroke, osteoporosis and respiratory disease. In addition to causing bad breath, it can also affect one's ability to eat, chew and talk. Certain medications can cause "dry mouth." Dry mouth makes it more difficult to eat and swallow, produce saliva, and causes tongue irritation.
People respond to our body posture, facial expression and tone of voice more than our actual words. Your upbeat mood can help keep the person you are dealing with remain calmer.
You need to pay attention to the non verbal clues the person you are caring for is giving you. Understanding his/her feelings may be more important than the content of the conversation. Acknowledge feelings whenever possible.
Do you help to care for a family member or friend who is frail, disabled, has a chronic illness or cognitive impairment? Then it's back to school for you! Our popular Caregiver College for learning and sharing is offered in two ways: as a day-long program, or in a series of 4 classes on consecutive weeks. Class is open to anyone, is FREE, and includes valuable information and hands-on practice on transferring skills, incontinence care and toileting, bathing, hygiene, grooming and dressing, dental care, feeding and nutrition, dealing with behavioral issues, and caregiver self-care.
My mother was 81 and living alone. She began to fall frequently, and had other health issues. My husband suggested that she move in with us so she would not be alone, and someone would always be there if she fell—we were worried about the falls.