Adaptive Clothing

Adaptive pants designed for dressing a wheelch...

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I have found that the use of Adaptive Clothing can reduce the stress involved in the daily routine of dressing those we care for. If you are struggling to dress your loved one becaues of mobility impairment, modesty or combative behavior then this type of clothing is optimal for your situation. Its design and ease of use can greatly diminish the stress created by the sometimes not so simple act of dressing.  There are several types of Adaptive clothing available. One type is designed for the caregiver to dress the patient and the other type is designed for the mobility impaired to dress themselves. I have included a video to help demonstrate the use of this type of clothing to help better understand its potiental as well as a link in the side bar to a supplier of quality adaptive clothing.

 

 

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Help for caregivers

Helping Grandmother Walk

Image by Rosie O'Beirne via Flickr

Caring for an aging parent in the home can be a rewarding expierence,both for you and your  loved one.While the benefits are many,the caregiver can easily become overwhelmed.

It is vital that the caregiver have a good support system of family and friends,as emotional and physical help will be needed.

There are recources available to caregivers that will lessen the stress involved in balancing work,home,family and caregiving.

Respite care allows the caregiver time to do errands or have much needed time away for themselves.Utilizing family and friends is one option while paid help is also available.

http://www.helpguide.org/elder/respite_care.htm

Adult day care is a specialized facility that provides a safe structured environment for your loved one.Many of the facilities operate 8-12 hours a day and provide meals,activities,outings and general supervision.There are many facilities that also provide counseling for the caregiver,should it be needed.

http://seniorhealth.about.com/od/eldercare/a/day_care.htm

You may also contact a social worker that can help identify and coordinate needed services.

Below I have included several links to online resources designed for caregivers that may be helpful.

Family Caregiver Alliance-  http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/home.jsp

Family Caregiving 101-     http://www.familycaregiving101.org/

Strength for Caring-   http://www.strengthforcaring.com/

Caring Connections-  http://www.caringinfo.org/

Volunteer

Everyone wants to feel special, needed and loved.The elderly are no different.

Unfortunately many elderly are placed in a nursing home and forgotten.

In my many years of working in Long Term Care facilities I have seen residents go years without a visit or a phone call from a loved one.It is heartbreaking to see someone alone on Christmas, have their birthday go by unnoticed or to sit and watch as other resident’s family and friends come and go and wonder why no one comes to visit them.

While the nursing staff may try to be both caregiver and friend,the harsh  reality is that much of the time the staff is so busy meeting the physical needs of the residents that there is simply no extra time to have a more one on one type of interaction with them.

Nursing homes are in need of caring and compassionate individuals who would like to volunteer their time to a resident in need.A short weekly visit is all it takes to say that someone cares.For many elderly this is their only contact with a friend and can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship that benefits both the resident and volunteer.

Just reading to someone,playing a game,going for a walk,or taking the time to listen can make such a difference in the life of a resident.

If you would like to become a voulnteer,contact the Activities Director at a nursing home in your area.You can ask to be paired with a resident who is rarely visited and would best benifit from your time.

Choosing a caregiver

Helping Grandmother Walk

Image by Rosie O'Beirne via Flickr

I recieved an interesting phone call from someone today asking my advice on the best way to go about choosing an in-home caregiver for their parents.

You first need to determine the level of care that your parents need.If you need someone to help with light housekeeping,cooking meals,shopping or transportation needs I would suggest talking to friends and family as they may know someone who is in need of work.You can also put an ad in your local paper in the help wanted section.

If your parents require help with bathing,dressing,tioleting or taking medication then you may want to consider a CNA (Certified Nurses Assistant) or a LPN,preferably someone who has expierence with the elderly.

Whichever route you decide to take,make sure that you ask for references and you may want to consider having a backround check done as well.Have all applicants meet with you and your parents so you can see how they interact with one another.

When you have decided on an applicant I would strongly recommend making surprise visits occasionally to ensure that both the home and your parents are being cared for properly.

Finally,speak to your parents and encourage them to voice any complaints or concerns they may have regarding their caregiver.You may have to hire several caregivers before you find the one who cares for your loved ones in the manner that you desire.Remember that they are YOUR parents and deserve to have the best care they possibly can.

Assisted living

An assisted living community is for the elderly who may need extra supervision or help with every day tasks.

Assisted living can be thought of as the best of both worlds.Residents can have the independence they crave with the security in knowing that pesonal care and support services are available should they be needed.Assisted living communities are designed to help residents with every day needs such as bathing,dressing,personal grooming,laundry and some household chores while usually living in their own private apartment.

Although assisted living is less costly than a nursing home,it can still be expensive.Some long term care policies cover licensed assisted living and in some states Medicaid funds and waivers may be available to help with the cost.

Assisted living is regulated state by state and each state has their own policies and regulations concerning the care and services that are required to meet that states standards.

To find out what regulations your state may have go to: http://www.alfa.org/alfa/State_Regulations_and_Licensing_Informat.asp

If you need help in finding an assisted living residence the following website is a great resource tool:http://www.assistedlivinginfo.com/

What to look for in a nursing home

Elderly woman + her view

Image by Borya via Flickr

 

Once you have made your list of nursing homes to visit,there are a few key things to look for that will help you to make your decision.

The first thing you will notice when you step through the door is the smell.Is there a bad odor?The reason behind the odor could be many things-the residents are’nt being bathed regularly,the incontinent residents are not being changed often,there are open wounds due to residents either being left in bed,or the bed bound residents arent being turned often enough,or it may just be poor housekeeping.Whichever the reason,there are times when a bad odor equalls poor patient care.

Next,look at the residents closely.Do they appear well groomed and clean?Has their hair been brushed?Are their faces and hands clean?Is their clothing clean?Does it look like someone took the time to select an outfit,or just picked clothes at random?Clean and well dressed residents are a sign of good care.

Observe how the staff interacts with the residents.Does the nursing staff appear hurried and stressed?Do they interact in a positive way with the residents?Do they address the residents  by Mr. or Mrs. or their first name? Is the nursing staff smilimg and cheerful when interacting with the residents?

Ask to speak with the Director of Nursing and ask what the patient to staff ratio is because your loved one may not get the care they need if there are too many residents per caregiver.Find out what activities are available and who is allowed to participate.In some nursing homes only the residents that are fully functioning are allowed to join in the activities.

Ask to look in a couple of the residents rooms.If you want your loved one to have a private room,ask about availability.If you choose a semi-private room,find out how many residents share the room and how to choose an appriopriate roommate.Look at the cleanliness of the room as well.Is it neat and tidy?Is the bathroom clean?Have the floors been mopped?

Finally,if you are able,speak to a few of the residents about the care they recieve.Are they happy?Does the staff treat them with respect and dignity?Do they feel they are well taken care of?Does the staff listen to and respect their wishes?Ask the residents what complaints they may have.

All of this information will help you choose the best possible home for your loved one.

Choosing the right nursing home

Lakeview Care Home. One of two modern care hom...

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Each year many of us are faced with the decision on what to do when Mom or Dad can no longer care for themselves.Making that decision can be a gut wrenching process as we love our parents and want to be there for them in their hour of need.In some cases home care is not an option due to the level of care that may be needed,available caregivers-usually other family members,lack of extra bedrooms and the stress involved for the entire family in caring for an eldery person in the home.

Talk to your family,friends(many of them may have had to make that decision as well)and your parents’ physician as all will have helpful advice to give that may make your decision easier.

If you choose a nursing home there are many factors to consider:

First,be aware of the level of care your Mom or Dad may need and what their mental status is.Some nursing homes deal exclusively in Alzheimer’s and Dementia-it may be helpful to speak with their primary physician in reguards to this as there are tests that can determine what level of care is needed.

Second,once level of care has been determined,make a list of all available care centers in your area that meet your parents’ needs and make plans to visit each one.This is very important as not all nursing homes have the same quality of care.It can be quite time consuming to choose the right home,but in the long run it is worth it because you can rest assured that your Mom or Dad is recieving the level of care that they both need and deserve.

I would suggest a surprise visit rather than making an appointment because you wont get the guided tour and will get to see what you need to see rather than what someone wants you to see.

In my next post I will let you know what to look for in a quality nursing home.