How to care for an aged parent or spouse? Caregiving for an aged parent or spouse can be a very time consuming responsibility. Many seek long term care, assisted living facilities or sitter services to lessen to load. What are some simple things you can do to make sure your loved one has a good quality of life? If you are just beginning to care for a loved one at home, what things should you look for? This article will feature simple practical steps a caregiver can use if caring for an elderly person at home. The first thing that is often overlooked in the care of elderly persons involves oral care. It is important that if your loved one practices good oral care upon waking up, after each meal, and at bedtime. Poor oral care has been linked to cardiovascular problems, including strokes. It can also lead to weight loss and failure to thrive. Also, if you loved one has dentures it is important that these are cleaned regularly and fit properly. Depending on the health status of the patient, oral care may have to be performed more frequently than five times per day. But doing so, can allay many potential ailments that plaque elderly persons.
Another area of concern also involves proper hygiene. It is important that if you are a caregiver that bathing is done daily. Use this as an opportunity to complete a complete head to toe assessment of your loved ones skin. Be sure to look under skin folds including: under the breasts, below the abdomen, and groin area. Frequently, moisture and redness can occur in these areas. Also, monitor their coccyx area and heels for signs of breakdown. If your loved one is diabetic, check with his or her insurance plan to see if they qualify for diabetic shoes. If your loved one is wheelchair bound a pressure relief cushion should be placed in their wheelchair. Sometimes, an elderly person is bed bound. Make sure that a pressure relieving mattress is in use and they are turned from side to side every two hours. If episodes are incontinence are an issue, use a moisture barrier cream and adult briefs that draw moisture away from the skin. Practicing proper hygiene can allay skin infections and prevent the development of pressure ulcers.
Another important aspect of a good quality of life involves recreation. Nice trips to the park, zoo, or movies can do a lot for the mental health of an elderly person. This also includes participation in hobbies they enjoyed while young or perhaps they want to learn a new skill or talent. It is also to make sure they have regular association with other people. Many older persons who still have their cognitive skills may actually enjoy social networking sites. There are many that allow online chat and feature interest groups that cater to senior citizens. Also, online forums are a good way for the elderly to keep their mind active and preoccupied. Encouraging your loved one to complete as many tasks independently can allow for a measure of control and increase self-esteem.
For those who are caring for someone who is aphasic ( unable to speak), you can design a picture board where he or she can still have some form of communication. Range of motion for a few minutes each day can be done on the head, neck, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes; which will help prevent contractures and combat stiffness. In conclusion, this may sound like a lot. However, establishing a good schedule and routine can go a long way in eliminating caregiver stress. Your loved one can also continue to live at home longer and avoid the high costs associated with long term care.