Becoming a caregiver means experiencing many differences in your day-to-day life. Planning and prioritizing are key to succeeding in your new role. Then you can effectively and efficiently care for your loved one while managing your other needs.
To provide the best possible care, take a look at these four areas below:
1. Comfort. Ideally, you want you and your loved one to be happy and the living situation as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. Several things will help, including:
- Comfortable and clean clothes
- Comfortable furniture
- Areas/Rooms cleared of barriers and obstacles
- Electronic devices that work
- Soft lighting
- Music/radio/tv within hearing/watching range
- Clean environment
Adding a level of comfort will make you both much more content.
2. Catering. You may have heard the expression "You are what you eat", but truthfully diet and eating habits significantly impact health. It's essential to keep this in mind. Proper nourishment and a meal & snack routine will help your loved one stay strong and healthy.
Here are some tips for a simple and healthy diet:
- Encourage regular meal times and scheduled snacks
- Avoid foods high in sodium and use less salt when you're cooking
- Reduce the amount of alcohol and coffee
- Check the amount and type of fat in the food you serve
- Encourage your loved one to drink water or juice
- If they don't want to drink, try to get them to eat foods with high water content, such as fruit and soup.
3. Hygiene. If your loved one can't take care of themselves, you'll need to help them stay clean—especially if they're incontinent.
While it seems reasonable to wash up more frequently, using soap and water repeatedly can delay the skin's ability to heal or prevent infection. In addition, rashes, dermatitis, and infection can occur due to irritated skin caused by incontinence. This can impact mental and physical health. Use products dedicated to skin & incontinence care, designed to cleanse while protecting the skin.
3. Activity. Exercising your body and mind regularly will do you both good and help you stay healthy and feel great. So include physical and mental exercise in your daily care routine.
Go for a walk in the park or drive somewhere together for the day. Physical exercise not only benefits your health but also improves your mood. In addition, it will boost both your immune systems and help you sleep more deeply.
Mental stimulation is important too! For example, do a crossword, play a board game or read together. All these things can make you both mentally stronger and happier.
Does your one struggle to get out? If so, try some of these tips to stimulate their mind:
- Talk to them, show them photos or movies they liked before or something new
- Play some music or sing to them
- Continue doing activities they used to enjoy – for example, read books together
- Arrange their bed by the window so they can enjoy seeing outside
- Bring them outdoors - the fresh air and sunshine is good for anybody