A list of basic ideas for making the daily caregiving experience easier for you—and your loved one.
- Encourage independence. Be a helper instead of a doer. Even if you can do things faster or better, encourage her to use the skills she still has. Skills that aren’t used will be lost.
- Personal care (dressing, bathing, eating, using the toilet) is personal. Everybody does these activities differently. Try to use the same routines the person is used to.
- Be flexible. The person may not need a daily bath. They might prefer several small snacks rather than three larger meals everyday.
- Divide tasks into smaller steps. If he can’t shave on his own because his hand is unsteady, let him apply the lather and wash off with a cloth after he’s shaved.
- Look for gadgets that increase independence. For an unsteady person, long tongs or reachers make it easier to pick things up from the floor. It’s possible to peel potatoes with one hand by using a special board with a nail sticking up to anchor the potato. Several good catalogs will give you many ideas. Call your local Sears store or J.C. Penney’s store and ask for the home health catalog.
- Give praise for trying. Especially when a person’s abilities are limited, a sincere “well-done” is often appreciated.
- Consider getting professional help to learn easier ways to help the other person. Nurses, home health aides, physical, occupational and speech therapists are trained to teach family members how to provide care in the home. Ask your doctor for a referral
Originally written and published by the Aging and Adult Services Administration Department of Social and Health Services, State of Washington. Reprinted with permission.
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services