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?