AnitaK Asked February 2012

Can anyone share helpful hints that they have learned in caregiving?

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Since I'm a newby here, I don't know if this has been covered already but I thought this might be a place that we can learn those little hints from each other and possibly make life a bit easier in the caretaking realm.

The most recent item that I have found helpful to have with me all the time is a doorstop. After one very frustrating visit to a dr when no one, either staff or patients and their companions, did not offer to open or hold open the doors I struggled with while trying to get my mom's wheelchair thru the door, I happened to think of the doorstop; now I don't make any trips with my mom without a one.

We use a transfer shower/tub bench and I find it cuts down on water getting onto the floor to use two shower curtains which I pull together thru the slit in the bench and fasten with a clothespin. I also put a towel on the side of the tub to absorb any water that leaks thru the bench along with the ones on the floor beside the tub.

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I got a wireless bed alarm for my mother. there is a thin pad that goes under the bed sheet & a wireless alarm unit that can be placed anywhere in the house. So when she gets out of the bed the alarm goes off in my bedroom. That way she is not startled or upset by hearing a alarm in her room. She just thinks that I happen to be up every time she gets out of the bed!
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Oysters1 Feb 2012
My Dad believes his mother is alive, she died in 1987, so when he talks about her I just go with it, and anyone else he brings up that has died. I don't try to reason with him because the only reality he has is in his own mind, and I don't want to say anything that will upset him in any way if I can avoid it.

Just my two cents :)
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ladee1 Feb 2012
I appreciate that some of you understand the importance of going to their world... they no longer live in ours and depending on what stage they are in, they can not retain or learn new information.... I have always'played along' when my elders think they are somewhere else, or that I am someone else.... just yesterday I was helping get Sonny dressed, this look went across his face, asked him what was wrong, " Do you think they are going to let me in ?" . I very promptly said, " I'll kick their ass if they don't".....he laughed, felt safe and protected and I had to hide the sadness on my own face.... how frightening to wake up and not know where you are and whether or not you are going to be 'accepted'.... it breaks my heart... but I spend time observing what HIS reality is and I go there with him... it is sad enough they don't know who they are, where they are, without making it more frightening for them.... they are asking about THEIR truth, not ours... it is so hard for them to have dignity at this time of their life...I just go to his world, in many ways it is a better place than the one I live in everyday....
This thread was a great idea... thanks for starting it... love and hugs....
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AnitaK Feb 2012
O.K. - this is not a hint but I have to share because it relates to my mom and my previous posting about her asking about her family who have passed on already. I keep my 3 yr old granddaughter a couple days a week now after having had her full-time while her parents work since she was born, so she has been around "GaeGo" her name for my mom all her life. After all this time of being truthful with my mom about my dad being dead, yesterday, when mom asked if I'd seen him, I said, "No, I haven't" to which my granddaughter said quietly (my mom is very hard of hearing) "he died 6 years ago and is buried in Lawerenceburg" which is exactly what I usually tell my mom.
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jeannegibbs Feb 2012
Good one, nursediana. I have a gair belt -- how do I learn the correct way to use it?
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nursediana Feb 2012
Im not sure if this has been mentioned, but all caregivers should have a GAIT BELT / TRANSFER BELT at all times. I suggest placing it close to your loved one at all times and learn how to use it properly and proper placement. This can mean the difference between a fall or not. Just FYI :-)
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jeannegibbs Feb 2012
lostball, I'm sure you are in over your head -- most of us would be! Your mother has a serious condition that will make communicating increasingly difficult and perhaps your father has the start of some cognitive problems. This is too much for one person to handle alone, and it is even more challenging when the caretaker has serious health concerns, too.

Are you on SSI? Do you have a case manager or a social worker? That would be the place to start. If you don't currently have such a person for your own health conditions, call Social Services in your parents' county. Do not assume that they can't afford professional help. One or both of them may qualify for various services that would provide some relief for you.

I've been thinking of you and I'm worried. You sound like a very caring person and it is extremely generous of you to want to provide what your parents need. Consider your own needs, too, and look into what kinds of professional services might be available. Come back and tell us how you are doing.
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My mom was diagnosed with dementia August 2011. She has been living with us since mid-December. She has lost interest in TV, reading, sewing, etc. She often just sits & stares into space. One hint that I could add is when speaking to a person like my mom, I first have to get her attention rather than just starting to talk. So I call her by name (mama) & wait for her to look at me. I then speak in a slower speed. I know us southerners already talk slow!! Anyway I speak slower & never try to discuss more that one subject at a time. After a sentence I pause & wait for her to absorb it before moving on.
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My dad came to live with us 2 mos ago & it's a learning process for sure! Each day I print out a paper that says the day, date & appointments for the day. This is a BIG help. When dad is experiencing the sundown decline I put on his favorite music & that stops the rocking. A PT told me to have dad focus on something, like counting coins. You need patience, resilience, flexibility & a sense of humor to be a caregiver. Also, if you receive compensation for your care, that doesn't mean you love your mom any less. Good luck!
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jeannegibbs Feb 2012
AnitaK, I am going to agree with your friend. (I realize that there are different views on this topic, even among professionals. I'm just giving mine.) I think it is more helpful to accept our loved one's reality and acknowledge their feelings than to honor the literal truth. As you can see, they do not learn from "the truth." It may soak in for a little while (and hurt), but then they ask the same question again. Instead of saying "Dad's been dead six years," I think I would say, "Dad's helping at the church," or "Dad went to borrow a tool," or "Dad is out of town on business." -- whatever would seem natural. Or even, if you can't bring yourself to tell a direct lie, "Dad can't be here right now." Then redirect the conversation. "Can you keep me company in the kitchen?" or "Tell me about when you met Dad."

To hear that your husband is dead when you don't know it is painful. To be told that you are so out of touch with reality that your parents have been gone decades and you don't know it is scary. Personally I don't see the value in providing this distressing truth over and over. It seems kinder and more helpful to me to accept their reality.

Please understand that I am not saying you are wrong. Just giving a different perspective.
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