In nursing and when I cared for my father at home I learnt that you can save time, energy and angst by pre-planning bed care routines. Caregiving is hard work and is often more rewarding for you both if you can cut back on using up energy you often don’t have. Here are a few things I found helpful.
One of the best things to save energy is to get all your equipment together before you begin. For instance if its bed-bath time get your bowls, dirty linen bag, towels, clean sheets, blankets/duvet, incontinence aids, creams and dressings, suitable clothing ready and close by. It cuts back on multiple journeys around your home, it makes nursing times less stressful and your patient more comfortable.
Prepare the environment and set the scene.
Think about room temperature, lighting and noise levels. Does soft music help or distract? The preparation time gives your patient time to realize something is about to happen.
Tell your patient or loved one that you are preparing to involve them in something (i.e. their bed bath/getting them up into a chair). Before you begin tell them what is happening.
Speak in a caring way and adjust the tone of your voice to soothe. Touch can help soothe even if you have to talk a bit louder to get over hearing difficulties. If there are two or more of you carrying out the nursing task include the patient in your conversation. Never talk about the person you are attending to as if they do not exist.
Do not assume they can do nothing or have no opinions. Ask if they want to help wash themselves, or perhaps choose an item of clothing. Seek their cooperation by asking them, for instance, to close their eyes before you wash their face. It is all empowering and people with Alzheimer’s, even in the later stages of the disease may maintain skills or their variable mood states will change their levels of awareness.
You can create a routine of bed care that helps you remember what you need to do. It can help your patient too as they will get used to the order of care and may find that it adds to their feeling of security, decreases anxiety and promotes pleasure in the time you spend together.
More information on
- Skin Care
- Stages Of Alzheimer's
- Mouth Care-Oral Hygiene
- Preventing bed sores/ulcers
- Dressing with Appropriate Clothing. Read Dorian’s sharepost on simplifying clothing for people with Alzheimer's
Caregiver Government Support Agencies
For more about caregiver support you can locate agencies online search or by calling your local area agency on aging. www.eldercare.gov.
Your local Alzheimer’s Organization has more information and support groups. Find them In My Community