Practical Caregiving

supports

If your loved one needs considerable help, a well-planned routine can make
the more demanding parts of your day go more smoothly, take less time and
help ensure that the one you care for doesn’t develop problems that could
have been prevented.

1. Make a list of all the items you need for morning and bedtime routines,
buy extra supplies of these items, and keep tem close at hand (e.g., bathing
items, medications and clothing).  If you use them in different rooms, have
duplicates.  This saves time and keeps you from having to search for items.

2. Since getting up and going to bed are often the most challenging times of
the day, have someone help you with the morning and bedtime routines.

3. Practice good oral hygiene that includes tooth brushing, preferably after
every meal.  Good oral hygiene helps to prevent tooth decay, tooth loss, gum
diseases and secondary infections that can result from poor dental care.

4. If your care recipient is disabled, has poor eyesight or cognitive
impairments, you may need to remind them about personal hygiene or provide
assistance.  If your care recipient is incontinent, it is important to
ensure that they are clean at all times, to use protective (barrier) creams,
and to change incontinence aids and clothing as often as needed.

5. Persons with limited movement should be turned in bed on a regular basis
to prevent pressure sores.  Consult with your medical team.  Correct
bedding, such as sheepskin or egg carton bed coverings or an air mattress,
helps to prevent pressure sores.

It is important to move persons with disabilities at least once an hour,
even if it’s just to reposition them, to do range of motion exercises and to
have them sit in various chairs that offer sufficient support.*

Day-to-day life

couples

Caregivers sometimes become so involved in their efforts to keep things
going that they tend to forget that each day can present the opportunity to
try new approaches and activities that will make a positive difference in
their lives and the lives of those they care for.

Some things that can bring about positive changes include:
-Standing back and taking a look at your situation – what is working well
and what is not – and finding ways to make changes for the better
-Establishing routines that effectively meet your needs as well as the needs
of the one you care for
-Improving your physical surroundings
-Physical, speech, and occupational therapy and exercise
-Assistive devices that increase independence and safety, ranging from
special eating utensils to specially equipped telephones
-Improved nutrition
-Carefully monitoring medications and their interactions
-Intellectual stimulation
-Social interaction
-Spiritual renewal
-Employing home or health care personnel who demonstrate that they really do
care and who will work to foster independence
-Finding ways to economize on your workload
-Filling each day with activities you can both look forward to*

Going to the doctor

doctor
You may want to accompany the person you care for at doctor’s appointments
to take notes.  This helps to ensure that you both understand the
recommended medical course of action and gives you the chance to observe the
interaction between the two.

Following are some tips for improving communication with care recipient’s
doctor(s):

1. Write down any symptoms or side effects that your care recipient may be
experiencing, along with other pertinent information (time of day, what they
ate, etc.)
2. Also write down any questions that you may want to ask, or any concerns
that you have. Regardless of how insignificant you may feel the doctor may
think it is, ask!
3. Ask about any possible side effects your care recipient may experience
while taking prescribed medications.
4. Ask if any new medication will interact negatively with current
medications.
5. Make sure you know the correct spelling of each medication your care
recipient is taking, the dosage and how many times a day they take it.
6. Ask for recommendations regarding taking a medication, i.e., should it be
take with food, at what times and what to do if a dose is missed.
7. Ask for storage instructions for each medication, i.e., in the
refrigerator, in a medicine cabinet, etc.

If your care recipient is limited in their physical abilities, ask the
doctor about the possibility of having physical, speech, or occupational
therapy.  You should also ask about assistive devices that are available.*

What is a Caregiver?

VA_Caregiver-Logo

One of the biggest obstacles in caregiving is recognizing that you are caregiving. Many family members think that what they are doing for their spouse, child, other relative or friend is nothing more than what family does for each other when there is a need. And that is true.

Running errands, picking up medications, driving to the doctor, arranging home care, helping to get dressed…regardless of the task, it is all caregiving. If you are helping someone with some of their activities of daily living, you are a Caregiver.

If you are caring for a Veteran, you might be eligible to participate in the Family Caregivers Program. A Primary Family Caregiver stipend is monetary compensation paid to a Primary Family Caregiver for providing personal care services to an eligible Veteran enrolled in the Caregiver Program. The stipend is not intended to replace career earnings, and receipt of the stipend payments does not create an employment relationship between VA and the Primary Family Caregiver.*

See VA fact sheet 11-04 for more details http://www.va.gov/PURCHASEDCARE/docs/pubfiles/factsheets/FactSheet_11-04.pdf

Also see the VA Caregiver Support site at http://www.caregiver.va.gov/

10 Tips for Caregivers

care hands

  1. Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

Hello world!

 

Greetings!IMG_0400

Thanks for visiting my Parkinson’s activity blog. I like to encourage people with Parkinson’s to stay active as a way to mitigate the debilitating nature of the disease. Staying active helps one fight depression and maintain a positive attitude. This is a place where Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers can share their experiences with others. I like pictures so post a photo of yourself engaging in your favorite activities here.