How do I stay busy?

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I'm relatively new to being an in home caregiver and so far am finding myself bored. I enjoy taking care of people but am often unsure of how to stay busy. I've been doing okay with 4 hour shift caregiving but I have a new patient that requires my attention Monday-Friday from 12-6pm. With my other patients, I provide the necessary care, and do a lot of cleaning and such in an attempt to stay busy, but am somewhat afraid of not being able to stay busy for 6 hours with a patient who is trying her hardest to stay relatively independent. Any advice?

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Dad's caregiver is busy. The morning bathing and shaving routine takes forever. Then his feedings, exercises, log, newspaper reading, tv, toilet, and walk from one end of the house to the other. If she has some free time, she is texting her family or enjoying the the magazines and snacks I bring her. She is so very treasured by our family.
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The holiday cards idea is brilliant!
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Maggie makes a good point. Your work can and ideally would include as much helpful interaction with your client as possible, given the level of socialization she can manage. Sometimes older people are really needy when it comes to just having someone listen to or talk to them. But it does depend on the person.

Find out what she enjoys, what she used to do and try to tailor those kinds of activities specific to her. If she enjoyed reading but has vision problems now, read to her, perhaps a chapter at a time. If she enjoys music, take music breaks inbetween chores. If she wants to send holiday cards, help her write out the addresses.

Think what you can to help her maintain independence - facilitation is the key here.
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I think you have the right idea about using cleaning as a filler. I guess I'd make sure that I was spending enough time with my patient, though. Taking care of can mean working jigsaw puzzles with her...playing 500 Rummy...asking about memories, etc. not just what we think of when we think of nursing responsibilities.

Asking your patient to help dry knick knacks you've washed qualifies. So does asking him/her to help fold laundry or match socks.

If I were a professional caregiver, I would track what I do in a log. Sometimes family doesn't appreciate all the invisible chores a caregiver does.
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