by francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
Dear Francy: The care center has a room for mother that is very small. She will be there long term, now. What should I be taking?
Keep it very simple but very representative of her personality. Just because she’s in a smaller room, does not mean she has changed who she’s been for years.
- Ask the center what can be done with the walls. You will find all sorts of products to hang things now, without leaving a foot print when you want to leave the room. Go to the hardware store and find out what is available and how much weight it holds.
- Make sure each item is carefully picked for memory, family or friend importance and function.
- Just because each room has a bed and chair, does not mean you need to keep that chair in the room. You can add a chair that she has used for TV viewing at home. But, make sure the chair she uses has all the function that is needed. Easy to clean, easy to get in & out of, easy to move around. Do not take up the room area with a big chair. Remember one of her dinning room chairs can be tucked into the room for a visitor.
- Her clothes go into plastic bins. You or a family member keep the clothes bins ready for her. Here is what you do. You sort out underwear, socks, comfort day clothes and sleeping clothes. You make 2-4 plastic bins of these items. You take the first bin to the care center and then hold the others. Every month or two you switch the bins. So she gets a variety of her clothes on a minimum amount of space in her small room closet. You can do a special soak in Oxy Clean to really get her under things clean from the facility. Remove any clothes too stained to use again and re-pack the bin. This way she is in a flow of all of her clothes not just a few items.
- No jewelry of value can go to the care center with her. It will go missing. So, this is the time for her to put notes on her special jewelry and give it away or give it to you to hold until grand children are old enough to enjoy it. She will have her wedding ring on and that should be noted on the inventory for the care facility and a picture taken of it for insurance. But this is also the time for a few fun pieces of jewelry to be put into a zip lock, so if she has friends in, she can put on a big fake ring, or a necklace just for “girl” fun.
- A small plastic 3-drawer unit that sits on top of the counter can be used by her sink. One drawer will have her tooth paste, floss, neosporin cream, eye drops and aspirin cream. The second drawer will have her lipstick, blush, face powder, tweezers, hearing aid case and extra batteries. Third drawer will have deodorant, talcum powder, small spray fragrance (simple like vanilla) All of this in a small space right by her sink. The drawer by the sink can now be free to hold her hair brush, her false teeth cleaning container and larger items. I like to always use Sonicare tooth brush and keep it plugged-in in a safe place.
- Above her bed is where all the action takes place. Have a white board for you to write messages to staff or visitors. Dietary notes, sleeping pill reminders, 20 minute visits please notes. etc.
- The space that she sees from her bed, directly across from the bed is the space for her bulletin board. Go to the box store and buy a cork board and then you use that to cover with material and ribbons in a crisscross pattern. That way you can put up pictures of the family, or from the grandchildren etc. Now remember to write names on the pictures so the staff can easily say to her. “Oh, I see this is your husband Dick and that you were married for 48 years! He’s very handsome.” That is the response you want from the staff or visitors.
- Put a large print out of your name and phone number on the phone itself and add #9 or what ever has to be dialed to call out. Tape it to the phone, so she does not have to remember all the numbers. No cell phones can be used at the care facility, they go missing.
- Buy a basket with a handle and put all the things in it she needs on a daily basis. Her lip balm, her nail file, her eyeglass cleaner, her throat lozenges, small hand cleaner, hand lotion, mirror, eye shades, memo pad with pen, small scissors and little pocket calendar. This will be on her small bedside table and can be grabbed by staff and put out of the way in an emergency. Clean it out and re-stock it on each of your visits. Make sure she can reach it and lift it.
- Her eating tray-table drawer will have her eye glasses, her small radio/mp3 player and headphones and small Kleenex.
- If she is into art, bring one piece to hang in the room, if she loves figurines, bring a small shelf to hang and few little things that have little value – to display.
- Large print books and magazines, an easy to use remote control for the TV all make it easier for her to pass the time. Print out a small one page, large print page of 10 most used phone numbers and names and have it laminated with her name on the top.
Too many tips to put in one post…so go to my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.com and see more information. If you or anyone you know needs to place a loved one in a care center. Please
visit my site and contact me. I have a FREE Senior Care Placement Service. I started this so everyone can find good care with kindness for their family and friends.
Thank you, francy