Thursday, November 23, 2017

Two Easy Caregiving Tips that Can Make a Big Difference

By Torie Temple

Here are a couple of ideas that will help your loved stay healthy and move through their days comfortably. 

Keep your loved one hydrated. According to Kayla Cook, registered nurse and owner of Caring Excellence Personalized Home Care Service, the elderly don’t feel thirst strongly and can become dehydrated easily since their total body water decreases with age. If swallowing water is a problem for your loved one, try ice cream, puddings, yogurt, soups, or jello, which also count toward their daily fluids. “Set a timer every hour to remind the caregiver to offer a beverage,” says Cheryl Hepp Basham, retired project manager/specialist at Jefferson County Public Schools. “Use whatever beverage your loved one prefers —- water, flavored water, Kool-Aid, tea (hot or cold), and lemonade are favorites. During the summer, popsicles are an alternative way to offer fluids.”

Make exercise a priority. Physical activity may be a challenge when mobility is limited; however, Amy Southworth, director of nursing and case management at Home Instead Senior Care, has provided practical tips to overcome inactivity in your loved one. “Things as simple as participating in their own personal care and meal preparation can work on range of motion,” she says. “More specialized exercise programs can be followed as well, but in my experience, the participation in day-to-day tasks makes the individual feel more useful and in control of their care and environment. Just a few things that I incorporate into my client’s plan of care are: walking to the mailbox/newspaper box every day; accompanying the caregiver to the grocery store and walking while pushing the cart; and supervising or helping with cooking — standing at the counter enhances endurance.”

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