Caregiver Tips...To Help Yourself.

Caregiver tips are a lifesaver when you are drowning in the overwhelming sea of giving your all. Many caregivers feel they are suffocating under the demands of managing a home, raising a family and taking care of their (or their spouses) aging parents. Referred to as the sandwich generation, caregivers a stretched to the point of breaking health. It is critical that you open your health savings account now and begin making small deposits towards your own well being.

With health reform on the front lines, a failing economy and only one life to live... you MUST effect change now, before it's too late. These caregiver tips are designed to help you effect change today.

caregiver inventory and caregiver tips to sort it out

As caregivers, it might be time to take inventory of a few things. You often feel you are spinning your wheels, the days fly by (or drag by!) and you have no time to sip a cup of tea...

Take a close look at the caregiver tips below and find small ways that you can begin to change your situation around.

Tip #1 Is your help necessary?

You may find it very difficult, as a caregiver, to let someone struggle. Especially when they are "sick." Your loved ones likely have been very sick and the greatest challenge for you will be let your loved one do for themselves what they can. Often, though, with good intentions, we confine them to bed and do everything for them. Each day confined to bed by our well meaning care giving, means precious muscle loss for them resulting in more dependence and a downward spiral for their health.

Tip #2 Keep it simple

Care can be rehabilitative i.e. stroke, total joint replacement, and diagnoses where measurable goals. Care can also be habilitative i.e. dementia and other diagnoses where specific "get well" goals are not an option.

Rehabilitative recipients can be overwhelmed, depressed and humiliated over their inability to complete a simple task.

Habilitative recipients can become angry or violent when asked to complete a task they are unable to. This can injure the patient or the caregiver and care must be taken to avoid this.

A relatively simple command of going to bed will be better managed by breaking this down into simpler steps: Stand up. Walk down the hall. Turn into your room. Walk to your bed/chair. Turn. Sit. And then further break down these steps as you assist a habilitative patient in getting their night clothes on. Caregiver tips like this will help to minimize blank stares.

This same command would also need to be broken down for a rehabilitative patient as great effort, thought and energy will go into each step and s/he will likely need assistance until strength, coordination and range of motion return.

Tip #3 Encourage activity

Whether rehabilitative or habilitative care, movement and activity are essential to increase independence and decrease complications that can creep up due to inactivity. Caregiver tips that encourage activity are a bit harder to swallow as we all know that mom or dad would really just rather sit all day... it only hurts them and then you.

The caregiver needs to encourage or help the patient do activities that put the major muscle groups through a full range of motion.

Rule of thumb to remember is this. Sometimes joints can be so tight that the muscles aren't strong enough to move them through any range of motion. Move a limb through a range of motion but also ask your loved one/patient to help you. This allows them to work on strengthening the weak muscles through a full range of motion. Our e-book addresses these weakness and tightness issues.

Over time, little bits of consistent strengthening will add up to increased independence.

The sweat of exercise no matter how difficult is far more worth the efforts than consequences of immobility. These include skin break down, pneumonia, constipation, swelling, weaker muscles, urinary problems, osteoporosis and blood clots. Any of these over time can cause death.

Tip #4 Train when needed

When it comes time to learn and regain lost functions and abilities, it is vital that the caregiver learns what to do and how it must be done before they can teach the recipient.

Over caring must be resisted as it is easier to go ahead and perform the task instead of allowing the recipient to struggle along, learning and getting stronger in the process.

Dignity is gold during these times. Control has been lost and most patients will do anything to get any sense of control back. Strive for patience in the learning process of the care recipient. Out of all our caregiver tips, this one is very important for success.

Tip #5 Encourage use of assistive devices

Assistive devices encourage independence.

Mobility aids like walkers, wheelchairs, canes and crutches are designed to assist in patients ability to get from point A to point B.

Sensory aids include vision and hearing aids as well as dentures.

Various other aids assist patients in bringing back their previous enjoyment of hobbies like gardening, painting, reading etc.

Physical and Occupational Therapists are trained health care professionals able to teach caregivers and patients about these devices and how to use them

Tip #6 Recognize the need for dignity

Caregiving can be time consuming and frustrating. Caregivers must remember to provide patience and care in a way that preserves dignity.

Consider these caregiver tips and pointers to enhance dignity:

  • Close doors when privacy warrants

  • Avoid excessive exposure

  • Allow choice in various areas

  • Allow participation in care to vary on some days

  • Keep clothes changed for incontinent patients

  • Regular hair dresser visits

  • Daily shaves

  • Frequent manicures

Walk the sensitive line of encouraging independence yet stepping in to help when patient's attempts are not adequate.

Tip #7 Skin safety

Skin condition tells us more about health then we realize. The largest organ of the body is prone to skin break down with immobility. Skin will dry with age and needs to be kept clean and well lubricated.

Frequent position changes are crucial. Bedsores can develop if redness develops on bony parts and is not relieved. These can be very painful, impair mobility even more and take a long time to heal. Natural Home Remedies is the best investment to know how to take care of these health issues without the side effects of medication.

Tip #8 Monitor nutrition

Many times patients have trouble chewing or swallowing. This an come between a well nourished body and one that breaks down under the stress of poor nutrition and sickness.

A registered Speech Therapist can help you decide which foods to puree and which ones to thicken to help swallowing and prevent chocking.

The elderly typically eat smaller meals making it necessary to fix 6 smaller meals instead of 3 larger ones. Your physician will be able to help you decide if a nutritional supplement will be helpful.

For additional insights on nutrition,

visit this trusted source for information on the Holistic Health therapies of Nutritional Supplementation and Homeopathy

Tip #9 Emotional Health

We are all insecure to some degree in health. When sick or injured we need increased acceptance and love from the family. Patients often go about obtaining that in manipulative ways. Be aware of this but there is no need to point it out now. Injury and disease can cause increased isolation and withdrawal - paving the way for depression and more health problems later.

Try to pull together as a family in times of need. However, do only what you can. Discussion of a short stay at a rehab facility or skilled nursing facility may be necessary to maintain your health as a caregiver.

Be leery of making "I'll never..." promises to each other while young and invincible. I've seen too many spouses agonize over promises broken because a patient needed more care than the spouse could give.

Talk early in life about later in life options for giving and receiving care... this will save a lot of heart ache later in life! This caregiver tip will save a lot of heart ache, frustration and burnout later on in life.

Do you have a special tip that you would love to share with other caregivers? We're all in this together! Submit it below!

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