Caring for an elderly relative can be an extremely stressful process. If you choose to go into care and deal with the elderly, then you can maintain an air of detachment. However, if you are looking after a relative, it is impossible to detach yourself from your family role as well as providing effective care.
As a result, you will have to deal with all of the emotions that go with caring for a disabled or ill relative. As it is so hard to detach, you may well decide that you need help caring for him or her in order to escape from some of the stress and pressure. There are plenty of options as far as this is concerned owing to a service commonly known as home help or home health care. It may be labeled differently in your area but this name sums up just what it is.
Home help is a service that provides an experienced and qualified caregiver who will come into your home or your relative’s home as often as you wish to provide various aspects of care, such as bathing, feeding, and dressing. This can be useful in that you can escape elements of personal hygiene that are necessary. Many individuals cannot cope with the thought of undressing and washing their own flesh and blood, and understandably so. Again, it all goes back to that air of detachment that has previously been mentioned. It may well be easier to have someone to come in to administer that side of things every day whilst you take care of feeding and chores around the home.
As home help caregivers administer such care for a living, they are schooled in the necessary privacy rules of their trade, are certified through training, and can be counted upon to be honest and trustworthy. They all have to pass certain qualifications in order to do their job and to know what they are doing; although it may be hard not to interfere and make suggestions. Some people, therefore, choose to meet a home help caregiver once and then leave them to do their job.
Most home help caregivers go into a home at least once a day; usually to get the individual out of bed, bathe and dress him or her, but you can choose to have home help as often as you want. Two or three times a day is the usual level and this is especially popular among those caring for elderly relatives and also have a full-time job to earn a living.
However, the amount of times you choose to have a caregiver in largely depends on what you can afford. The best services can be more expensive, although there are usually several within one area to choose from. As a result, you can interview them until you finally find a service that you are happy with and would trust with your relative.
You can search for home help services on the Internet or in the local service directories. There are minimum standards that each service has to comply with so always be wary of services that do not boast of their credentials. Check out testimonials and ask around for recommendations. You may also want to take your elderly relative’s opinion into considerations. After all, it is your relative that will have the most contact with the home help.
If you are caring for the elderly in any capacity, whether it is as a care assistant in a retirement home or as a primary caregiver in the home of an elderly relative, it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do. Being new to caregiving can be a very daunting experience because you are literally thrown in at the deep end. You either learn or run; it is as simple as that. There are no courses or hard and fast rules that can tell you how to react in certain situations. Every caregiver has to find his or her own footing when caring for the elderly and then translate that into a level on which you feel comfortable in order to be effective. However, there is one golden rule that you should follow and adapt as your private philosophy—always establish a routine and never underestimate its power!
Routines are essential when you are trying to establish a bond with the elderly person under your care. They can make that individual senior extremely happy and afford them an immense sense of comfort, as well as making your life so much easier! Before you even begin to think about establishing a daily routine though, you need to find out as much about the individual as you can. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are related in some way, but it applies just as much as it does to caring for a complete stranger. You can’t even begin to think about a routine if you do not know the person because they may hate certain aspects of the care that you impose on them. An effective routine is always based on mutual interests and compromise.
By getting to know the individual that you are caring for, you can build a solid foundation of trust and mutual respect. Trying to get into a routine before you have this is doomed to failure. Regardless of how logical and effective your routine promises to be, you cannot hope for it to succeed if the person that you are trying to help repeatedly bucks and sabotages it. Build the trust and then the routine.
A good routine will have a stabilizing effect on the elderly person that you are caring for, which will make your long term working relationship with them so much happier and less stressful. It will help you to remember what to do and when and it will help the senior to remember what he or she has to do as well. Repeatedly doing the same thing over and over can give an immense sense of comfort to the senior because there is nothing unexpected thrown in to upset them.
The frustration of not knowing what is happening in your own world can be extremely upsetting, but a routine can help to avoid it. Familiarity can give seniors a sense that they have some sort of control over their lives and can be used effectively to this end by caregivers. It can take months to build up an effective routine, but once it is in place, you will be loathed to deviate from it.
Once you have tried out the golden rule for yourself, you will see just how effective a tool it can be. It gives you a measure of control without taking away the elderly person’s independence. It can also cut out unnecessary stress. Although you do have to persevere to establish it and may face an initial rebellion, it will ultimately be worth the effort and both the caregiver and receiver will fully appreciate it.
Maintaining the Safety of Seniors in Your Care
Looking after the elderly can be a bit like looking after young and curious children—you need eyes in the back of your head and the ability to see through walls! Whether the elderly person that you are caring for is mentally or physically disabled, your primary concern is their safety. However, unfortunately for you, this is very rarely their primary concern. Individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, for example, do not have a sense of their own mortality at all. They are mentally incapable of thinking through the dangers of any situation and are neither logical nor reasonable with their thoughts. As a result, you must be concerned about their safety enough for you and them at all times.
Within the home, you should make all of the necessary amenities available to the senior in your care without exposing them to any danger. It is much like baby-proofing a room when you have a toddler walking around. The elderly person that you look after may also be into everything if they are mentally handicapped. People in the latter stages of dementia may wander continuously and refuse point blank to sit down.
In the event of this occurring, you should remove all tripping hazards such as mats and small units that they could trip over. You should also avoid having any open heating devices such as electrical fires because these can cause more trouble and destruction than they are worth. However, a bathroom should be available to them at all times, as should an appropriate place to sit just in case they exhaust themselves.
If a person is physically disabled, you should allow them to rest in the most appropriate spot in the room, granting them access to their source of entertainment as well as warmth. However, you should not cut them off from any source of communication because if they need you and they are unable to reach you, they may attempt physical feats that are beyond their abilities. This could cause falls. You must also ensure that they are safe within their chair or bed, having the appropriate rests either side of them to prevent slips and falls.
There are certain conditions that might require specific clothing that enables the patient to be more comfortable and let the caregiver have an easier time caring for the patient. It is called “adaptive clothing” that renders service to specific conditions and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s anti-strip clothing, or shirts that have magnetic buttons for arthritic patients who can still independently dress themselves. You can click here to find “adaptive clothing”. Use the promo code 5OFF for $5.00 off your order!
If you take your elderly charge out and about then you should have the same sort of measure in place because you have to fully concentrate to anticipate danger before it actually happens. Take every step slowly and do not hurry anyone with a disability. It may cause them to panic and fall or cause a scene. Always make sure that they are warmly dressed if it is winter and have layers on if it is summer and always attempt to comply with their wishes. If a physically disabled senior does not think that he or she can handle the activity that you propose, then you will more than likely be informed of that fact. However, you have to assess the abilities of a mentally impaired individual to be able to make an informed decision about whether your suggestion is appropriate or not.
Regardless of whether you are looking after an elderly person in the home or on an outing, you should always remember that there is one key to the process of assuring their safety. Communication is that key. If your senior cannot tell you whether they feel safe or not, you should be able to identify any signs of distress or fear effectively. If you can get to the point where you can achieve that, then you should feel confident in your role as guardian and protector of their safety.
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