I am looking for assistance on how to provide good caregiving service to a woman (96) still living in her own house?

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My hours have increased; however, there is only so much to do. I am with the care receiver two days a week and for six hours each day. I shop for groceries and change her bed on a weekly basis. I am a companion and not a housekeeper, although I don't mind organizing etc. Please advise as to what I could assist with during these hours. I do sit and talk with her, but I also want to be of service to her. There are some things that she insists upon doing......i.e. the laundry, and preparing her own meals, which consists really of microwaving items, e.g. oatmeal for breakfast, Lean Cuisine meals for dinner.

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I wonder if she likes having her nails done or hair done? Maybe a 'girls spa at home'? Maybe doing some cooking together as an activity (could be for others but would keep her active and useful to others). Cookies, cakes, soups? I know with my mom, money is always a concern (even if we pay for it), so proceed carefully. I agree that asking the family (if they are close to her) is a good idea. Also, an indoor garden? Herbs or flowers? My mother also loves going for drives through old neighbourhoods she loves….and for my dad, the music has been key; even in late stage demential. These were some great ideas from other caregivers.
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My Mom has a group of ladies that assist her daily & I do call them companions. As I told her awhile back she would never be alone again. Her attitude has taken awhile to get accustom to them being there & being able to accept their help. One reason I am afraid to move her home with the ladies is maybe I'm skeptical her attitude might change & not for the better. At AL the residents are expected to go down to the dining room for lunch & dinner meals unless they are really sick. Also encouraged to participate in activities & there won't be that so close by & if I go home & leave her with assistance I will still have to come back once aweek or everyother week. I don't trust anyone since I lost my Daddy last year. It's really hard to be in the drivers seat so to speak to make decisions for a parent. Take care, Happy Mardi!
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If I should live to 96 I hope I know some lovely ladies like ALL of you! xoxo
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Sounds like you are doing okay. Ask her if she would like you to do more. At 96 she is pretty independent, so don't do anything without asking her FIRST! That said, I'm glad your hours have increased and you will be getting more money. Big bands are a great idea!
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I, too, worked in Elder Care. I had between 20-30 hrs a week to fill. Sometimes I'd organize closets, sometimes I did ironing. Sometimes we played music. Sometimes we drove endlessly through "old neighborhoods" and I'd let my client reminisce. She'd had a long, interesting life. Sometimes I'd sing to her. (Oddly, she LOVED that, since I was raised on "oldies".) One day I was singing "The Grandfather's Clock" because we'd just passed a clock store, and I looked over and she was crying. "I haven't heard that song for 50 years!" she said. I think that as elder care providers, sometimes the best thing we provide is simply someone who has the TIME to sit with them and let them be. We were friends, and she treated me as such. Oh--she could no longer get in and out of the tub, so a "pedicure" was a real treat. Or just massaging her shoulders, (very gently!) or doing her nails. The little things we do for ourselves and take for granted.
I'm sure you are a wonderful caregiver--just by asking what more you can do--most people sit on their behinds and watch the clock! Bless you!
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The best thing you can do, you are doing already: being a friend. As people get older and need care, they begin to feel useless, like just a "patient." Having another person who can become a real friend, and not treat the elder like their "ward" is priceless. You can also go for walks through the park, out to lunch, or a museum or library she may enjoy. Think of what you would enjoy doing with your friends, and do those kinds of things with this person. I would look up free activities in your area.
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You are an insurance policy. Just being there if needed in an emergency. I would not take away tasks she is so fortunate to still be able to do. It makes her feel independent. Games are great, and don't underestimate the talking and companionship. That and piece of mind that you're there is huge. Is there light cleaning you can do, her nails, etc?
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I was a caregiver for different home health care agencies for years. Being of service to seniors is very rewarding and helping others is a gift. The job at times can also be hard because you don't want to invade her independence but you want to stay busy. Six hours is alot of time to try and keep busy. See she has any other interests. I have done puzzles, played cards and dominios. Maybe you go for a walk outside with her. Sometimes just having someone else in the home brings peace. I pray this helps. God bless.
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If you like to cook, have her save some of the microwave dinner trays from her frozen dinners and fill them with some delicious meals she can microwave.
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Who pays you and hired you? It sounds like you need to go to that person and share with them she needs additional care. If that doesn't work calling the Country Area on Aging they will send someone out to assess her need if she is low income she maybe eligible for services in some states. If she is not eligible for state funding and has the financial means I would suggest a Geriatric Care Manager. A Geriatric CarrManager will assess her care and make recommendations in her ongoing care that will likely include a higher level of care and that person can discuss with the person in charge of her finances.
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