Dear Hello-Ease

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Remember the Hints from Heloise articles? For those who don't, she wrote articles about helpful hints and tips around the house.

Interested in starting a series on what we've each found to be the MOST helpful tips for caregiving for our loved ones? I'll start, to get the ball rolling ..

My favorite DYI tips:
.. I make a combo lotion of A&D ointment and Baby Lotion for the perineal area. Smells great and very soothing and protective from incontinence. I mix it together in a clean zip baggy, massaging the mixure while still sealed, then cut a SMALL corner off and squeeze the resulting lotion into an old hand lotion pump bottle.
.. Rather than spend a lot of money on paper products, we bought dozens of wash clothes: use once, then toss in the laundry
.. We haunt the VA thrift stores for diapers and pads, getting them for pennies on the dollar
.. After a stroke, s/he might have a hard time drinking from a glass or cup without dribbling .. for $1 each we found these great sippy cups with screw on lids, instead of using straws that like to swirl in the glass and means less spillage with the cap if accidentally tipped over. They also happen to have the body of the cup segmented so that we can measure the drink. Bought about 10 of them, and as she drinks them, I keep them lined up on the sink drainer, so I can keep track of how much she's had (her fluid intake is vital in both directions: too little and it's bad for UTIs, too much and her congestive heart suffers)
.. Bibs: two clips strung together with twine or string or ribbon, clips onto the corners of pretty, absorbent towels (size to suit the situation)
.. We use gloves for almost everything in the bath and bedroom. Got some sturdy (pretty) tissue dispensers and hung them on the wall for easy access (can either load it with the box of gloves or just stuff the dispenser with as many as it will hold)
.. for easier turning/placement in the car, place a large shopping bag over the seat .. helps with the transfer and the turning just glides. Also provides protection for the occasional incontinence.

Products/Best Investments under $20:
.. TV tray, with tiltable top, with two L-shaped legs .. fits under almost any seat. ($10 on sale)
.. toothbrushes with suckers on the handle tip. Keeps it upright on the sink, and within easy reach of a wheelchair ($3)
.. wall-mounted toothpaste and soap dispensers .. especially great for those with limited or no mobility on one side ($13~)
.. battery operated wireless doorbell .. we taped a string to the part you normally put on the door and give it to her, and place the ringer somewhere we'll always hear it. That way, if she wants or needs our attention, we're literally on call. ($18)
.. Wound care: for bedsore protection/healing, I love a 3M product called Cavilon No-Sting Barrier Film. Acts like a second skin, and is especially great for those foldy areas ($13 - $20, spray and wipes versions)
.. For incontinence protection: thin vinyl 'rubber pants' .. elastic at waist and legs that we use overnight (3 for $10)

What's your advice for:
.. I'd love a DYI no-wash perineal cleanser. Any tips?
.. How about a DYI air freshener?
.. What's your favorite tip?

32 Comments

Great Post! I will think of some things and post later...gotta go get Mom her protein shake, and Brother is stopping by. Be back after dinner!
I bought a beautiful sewing box for Mom's meds. The top part has compartments for her test strips, needles, lances, injection pen, etc. The bottom fits her Morning, dinner and bedtime M-S pill boxes, as well as her advair, spiriva,hearing aid batteries and tips and a bottle of the ever present tylenol. We keep it right on the kitchen table, and only put it away when the Prince (My nephew, her grandson) comes to visit. The Pin cushion that is on the underside of the top, I use for reminder notes..... for ME...(ie.Order needles), and the little pocket is where her blood tester fits. Being a bit OCD, this is perfect for me...a place for everything and everything in ONE place.
LadeeC, I have already filled the decorative tissue holder with rubber gloves. Mom loved that idea!
Loved the idea of the sewing box. Makes me consider some other alternatives, like that tallboy jewelry boxes. Hmmmm...
The thing is .. it's nice to find ways to keep it feeling like home .. instead of a medical institution, right?
What a great thread LadeeC.... will have to think of some things I do or that others have done.... Like the lotion idea, am going to try that one ASAP.... this is great, thanks for doing this..... hugs, from the other Ladee
Yes! She would hate the "hospital look".
I keep her diapers in a pretty gift bag (3 for $1 at the $1 store.), on a low shelf by the toilet.
I also use gift bags at all her "spots" that she sits to read or play solitaire. They are great for all her dirty tissues and cough drop wrappers, that used to be everywhere. I line them with cheap lunch bags, and they last a long time.
She can't walk the yard to see the gardens, so I make sure to make her small arrangements of fresh flowers in a different room each day. (Herbs for the Kitchen).
The little things mean a lot.
Another thing I'd love to find is a good alternative to (expensive) mouth swabs.
I don't know what they are. Like a big q-tip? What do you use them for?
I've seen several variations: yeah, long enough that the stem/handle can reach into the mouth; the swabbing end is some kind of non-dissolving foam, that may or may not be pre-saturated with something like ingestible mouthwash. They're most typically used for oral cleansing or hydration. They work well as an alternate for oral hygiene. Most of the premade ones are expensive.

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