Helping your loved one with many day-to-day activities can be incredibly overwhelming. An estimated 60% of family caregivers assist their loved ones with activities of daily living (ADLs). These day-to-day activities include eating, bathing/showering, grooming, mobility, using the toilet, and we know how challenging it can be for caregivers. Here you can listen to other caregivers describe their day-to-day activities, share your own advice, or click on the activities below for more help and answers you can use.
Helping them Move
Turning and Positioning a Loved One in Bed – As a family caregiver, being able to safely position and/or turn your loved one in bed can make certain care acts much easier and more comfortable for you both. This is also an important part of keeping your loved one from developing bedsores if they are bed-ridden.
Transferring Tips for Caregivers – As a family caregiver, assisting with transferring – whether it is helping your loved one from their bed to a chair or in and out of a vehicle – can be a challenging task. It is important to work as a team – moving slowly and communicating with your loved one throughout the process is crucial.
Using the Bathroom
Toileting Tips for Caregivers – If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, it is important to know that loss of control over their bladder and bowels can set in during the later stages of the disease. Setting up routines around using the toilet and being able to identify signs that your loved one “needs to go” are a couple of simple ways you can help minimize accidents. Read more…
Helpful Tools – Toileting and Incontinence – Is your loved one’s bathroom accessible? There are three main factors that may be impacting your loved one’s ability to use the toilet easily and comfortably: height of toilet, arm bars, and ability to reach/grab. These tools, along with some of these useful products can address protection and can make using the toilet more feasible.
Showering & Bathing
Bathroom Safety and Alzheimer’s Disease – The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home, particularly if your loved one is living on their own. Risks of falls and hot water burns can be addressed by making small modifications in the bathroom, ensuring your loved one’s safety, and helping them maintain some independence. Read more…
Bathing Tips for Older Adults – Many family caregivers feel uncomfortable assisting their loved one in the shower or bath, as it can feel like an invasion of their privacy. But your help is important to keeping your loved one safe and healthy. How often should your loved one shower or bathe? What can you do if your loved one doesn’t want to shower or bathe? These tips outline some practical ways to handle challenges related to showering or bathing.
Grooming Tips for Caregivers: Creating a routine around grooming is important, as is balancing what your loved one is comfortable with (example: if your loved one doesn’t like to have their hair washed often, you might have to decide how important it is to wash their hair at a particular time).
Tips for Dressing Older Adults: Getting your loved one dressed each day can present its own set of challenges. For example, they may need assistance with buttons or zippers. Make sure they are a part of the process in a meaningful way by having them make choices on what they would like to wear (these choices can be limited if your loved one has difficulty with decision-making).
Kitchen Safety and Alzheimer’s Disease – As a family caregiver, your loved one’s safety is crucial and the kitchen can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, with risks from chemicals/poisons to fire and burn hazards with stoves. It is important to reassess risks as your loved one’s condition progresses.
Dehydration in Persons With Dementia: How to Spot It and What to Do About It – Is your loved one drinking enough water? Those with dementia are at an increased risk of dehydration. Following tips like aiming for 4-6 glasses of water per day (more when the weather is hot) and being on the lookout for signs of dehydration may keep your loved one from a medical emergency.
Tempting Poor Appetites – Ensuring your loved one is eating properly and getting the nutrition they need is a crucial part of your role as a family caregiver. There are many reasons why individuals lose their appetites as they get older. Some tips, like providing small snacks throughout the day and involving your loved one in meal preparation, may help in making sure your loved one is getting the nutrition they need.
End of Day
Putting the Day to Bed: Alzheimer’s & Sleep – Sleep issues are a common occurrence for individuals with Alzheimer’s and can impact the family caregiver’s sleep schedule as well (and you need your rest, too!). These tips will help you create routines navigate challenges in your loved one getting a good night’s sleep.
Wandering and Alzheimer’s Disease – Loved ones with dementia may be prone to wandering. In addition to establishing routines to keep your loved one in familiar, supervised surroundings throughout the day, securing/locking doors, and contacting authorities immediately and can ensure a safe return if your loved one does wander.
Caring For Yourself
10 Tips for Self Care – As a family caregiver, your health and well-being is important. But how can you find ways to care for yourself and juggle your role as a caregiver? These tips offer you can use on daily basis to make your tasks easier and make sure you’re not neglecting your own needs. Download here.
Life as a Caregiver: What About Me? – It is important to take care of yourself so you are able to take care of your loved one. In this video, those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s share their challenges in caring for themselves and tips they’ve implemented to make self-care easier. Watch the video.
Difficult Emotions are Normal:
Caregiving isn’t easy. The day-to-day demands and stress take a toll. That toll can leave you feeling a range of challenging emotions. These feelings can leave us doubting our abilities to care for our loved ones, but the most important thing to know is that you are not alone.
What do these emotions look like?
- Anger at your loved one or other members of the care team.
The range of emotions you may be feeling can be a sign of depression and other mental health issues. Take a screening to find out more.
Community is Key!
Support Groups – Finding a community of support can be key in realizing you’re not alone and can provide a safe space where you can share and ask questions of your peers.
- Find out what kind of support group is right for you.
- Determine if an in-person support group or an online forum meets your needs.
- There are a wide range of Facebook support groups as well. These are all independently managed, but you can locate groups based on different subjects and themes, including your loved one’s condition, your region, and your role as a family caregiver.
What makes a support group successful?
- A safe haven for sharing true feelings
- A place to make new friends
- Information about resources and coping mechanisms
- Advice on what lies ahead
- Help in dealing with family members
Where to find a group?
- The social work department of hospitals
- Adult daycare centers
- Voluntary organizations that deal with your loved one’s condition,
- i.e., ALS Society (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), MSSociety (Multiple Sclerosis), United Cerebral Palsy, etc.
- Area Agencies on Aging
- Your faith community
- Parent to Parent USA
- Your physician’s office
CAN’s Care Chat is an online forum for caregivers that allows for total anonymity and a space free of stigma and fear.
Source: Caregiver Action Network
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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