Walk, don’t Fall! How to Buy Medical Equipment

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How to buy medical equipment for seniors at home by francy Dickinson

Say NO to using surfaces as Table Top walking...

Say NO to using surfaces as Table Top walking…

Dear Francy: Mother will not use her cane…she falls…I know because she has bruises – but her pride is over the moon and she will not use them. She is also having night problems with her bladder…I have to change the bed each time I visit…but no mention of it from her. How can I get over this pride issue and keep her safe and clean and feeling good about herself?

TALK ! There comes a time when seniors have to sit down and listen to their children. It is a hard thing for both fathers and mothers to do- but the transition from being their ‘little girl’ to their care giver simply has to happen. I get it. I have talked about medical equipment and how to acquire it and when to use it before…but just when I think everyone knows…I get four emails in a row about problems with seniors and a need for help. So, I am going to review the different things you need to use as a senior progresses in their life’s journey.

Use a gel cushion in the car and on your favorite TV chair…save that bottom and your back…it feels great!

Start with a gel cushion: When you age, your bottom and your feet start to change and you need to use a little gel cushioning. I am in my early sixties and I have both gel in soles in my shoes and a get cushion on my bottom when I rest…I am a happy girl…get one and enjoy pain free life again!

Age and how a senior feels and their personal challenges are always different. That is why its good to know what is out there for you to help anyone that has ups and downs in their health. Heart problems can come and go and so can arthritis–so if you have some of these helpful tools on hand. You can use them when needed.

Toilet Support Rails r easy to install

Toilet Support Rails are easy to install

This unit simply screws on to any toilet under the seat..then you screw the seat on top of it…it gives you adjustable handles. This has helped George so much…but guess what? After my car accident I had great pain in my foot..and this helped me too! I will not be taking it off when George leaves the house…it is now something I count on myself ūüėČ

To carry this idea out…we need to talk about a commode. These are like portable toilets. When a man is up 2-3-4-5 times a night with prostate issues…or when Parkinson’s has you extremely unsteady…a portable toilet, called a commode, is the ticket to ease of use and relaxed worries of accidents and falls. This commode has a bucket you fill with a bit of water and I hit it with a small amount of Pinesol type product. Then you keep it by the bed…so it is just a few feet away. I put a plastic sheet (black bag) down under it and have toilet paper ready. It is used at night..then during the day you take out the bucket and dump it in the toilet and put the unit over the toilet in the bathroom so the senior can use it with it’s handles for sturdy up and downs. REMEMBER:You always have to ask your doctor for the different products to help you. The doctor will write a prescription for the item and the medical rental house will get your product ready and it will then be able to be all or partially covered by Medicare/Supplement. If you are lucky, like we are, and have Veteran’s…they will give you a review and provide the equipment. If you do not have coverage and need medical products…then it’s time to check out local charities and ask them for help. They often are giving things after someone passes. They clean it up and get it ready for you to use without a big investment. Be creative…do not be embarrassed to ask for help from friends and local charities…they are working hard to provide things for your use…use them.

–> NOTE:Women need to use pad or pants that are designed for urinary problems. Not pads for menstruation. This is very important because the wrong pad for the wrong situation can lead to nasty UrinaryTrackInfections. UTI’s are one the main health risks of both men and women when they begin to lose their strength. UTI’s can take a senior down and change their future living alone abilities… in no time. We can not stress enough to “talk” to your senior about their bathroom issues. Then talk to the doctor. Stool problems can lead to real problems; and the use of stool softeners and/or Imodium products to harden stools can reduce those terrible battles in the bathroom.Medications has nasty side effects for all of us…but especially seniors find them embarrassing and often to do not mention the problems. ¬†Men have to relax and let a pad or “Depend” ¬†under short type product reduce their need to hurry to the bathroom everywhere they go. Doctors can and will give you a prescription for urinary pills that will reduce the ‘urge’ feeling that requires so many bathroom visits. This ‘hurry up’ is the cause of many seniors falling in the middle of the night. A good mattress cover is required. Most seniors need to update their bedding after years of use anyway. So, get a new mattress cover that will protect the mattress and give a little cushion to the older bed. Add two new sets of easy to wash sheets and pillow cases so they can be easily washed and changed. Most seniors like the feel of flannel sheets almost all year round…so keep that in mind when you are buying the new bedding. Update the pillows so the senior has two new pillows for head. Use the older pillows and put one for between their legs to cushion the legs and one to tuck under their upper arm to put them into a womb-curling posture as they sleep. This wrapping them in comfort will allow them to sleep soundly. Adding a night-pad or Depends type of pant…will let them know they are OK, if they have an accident. Then adding in the commode or toilet handles will be a winning ticket for seniors with night time worries and accidents.

—-> Tip//how a lady wipes her bottom after a bowel movement — is going to stop a lot of UTI infections. I had mother re-learn this process…she also used a femine wipe..or child’s diaper cleaning wipe and put it into the special (with swinging lid) trash bin…not down the toilet. These products will clog your sewer system! So teach them to have a trash bin close to the toilet to use for the wipes and a place to put their Depends type products. Then you line the trash bin with a light plastic liner and empty it twice a week to keep the smell out of the bathroom. I use a disinfectant spray inside the trash bin and then re-line it with another tall plastic bin bag. (I get mine at the dollar store) This makes this whole process easy for the senior and the care giver to use and keep really clean. I also have a container of cleaner-wipes (w bleach) under the sink and I use them to wipe off the toilet area and the sink and other handles and light switches- each time I clean the bathroom. This keeps down the germs and the odor. Seniors often lose their sense of smell so you have to help them keeping clean.

I have never been so proud that I could not use a cane with my back. I have had a bad back long before I became a senior. The pain was too much to worry about pride. Even as a younger woman, I had a cane hanging in the closet. It helped me through the three days of pain until the back would relax and let me go back to my regular walking.

Cane and Handle helps George w balance

Cane and Handle helps George w balance.

Just as you prep your house for little children or dogs…its time to do it for seniors that will be aging into health challenges. The senior may only need a few of these items as they move downhill in their health. But actually, at the first signs of stability problems, its time to make changes. Stair lifts are such a lovely thing for those that can afford them. They allow the senior to stay in their two story home, so much longer. And electric chairs are great too. But they are for seniors that have all their thought processes working. Since my George suffers with his Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s he is unable to remember how to use the electric chair or cart.

This new small wheelchair is proving to be a hit with us

This new small wheelchair is proving to be a hit with us

George started using his walker quite a while ago. But it only worked as a walker. It did have a seat for him to use when he got tired…but now he has days that he is too weak to walk at all. So, what to do? We asked for a Physical Therapy appointment and the PT gave us a very small, light weight, wheel chair with small wheels. It now is used as a walker for George when he is feeling strong. The chair is light and easy for me to fold and put into my smaller car. (not everyone uses an SUV) and it works well when George walks. I am going to look around for a larger bag that can hang off the back of the chair so he can grab a few things to take from room to room. I also have to figure out how he can have his cane on the back of it too…so maybe a velcro connection there??

Walking w his legs instead of me pushing is Great!

Walking w his legs instead of me pushing is Great!

The new wheelchair also allows him to sit and walk with his own legs. The older walker was not designed for this move. Now, George is able to move around on his own with his own leg power, without me pushing him all the time. NICE – he is able to walk it out to the front porch where we have a container garden and he helps me water the tomatoes and catches some sun rays each morning.

Now what do you do when you wake up and your spouse is not able to even get out of bed to begin their day? You learn how to use a ‘gait belt’ – the Physical Therapist will show you how to use this. Its an easy tool…you put it around the mid section of the senior and then you can help guide him up and walk with him supporting his legs from the middle of his body.

Example of Bed Rail

Example of Bed Rail

Or you can add a support bar for the side of your bed and the senior can use it to get up on their own. It will depend on if the senior has strong arms and is able to use them.

That is why I keep George exercising three times a week. I have a routine I put him through to keep those legs strong enough for him to make transitions and get up and down from chairs and bed. As he goes up and down in his abilities…we stay with exercise. I use the elastic exercise bands to give him some pressure to stretch and keep his arms strong. Look for them at the sports department or ask the PT the next time you go.

Thank you for all you are doing for your senior…you have no idea how kind and dear it is for you to give your time and love to another and let them age with grace. I have been giving George more and more of my time each day as his Parkinson’s is taking over…poor guy is losing his abilities so fast. So, what I try to do is take each day as a new day. If a day is bad…we work through it. But the next day we start a new…so if his strength is better he does more. If you start to put the senior into a pattern of you doing more and more for them and never checking if they can do some of those things on their own…its just a downhill slide for both of you.

Enjoy the fall…no more hot hot days…things will cool down. George has already asked for Pumpkin pie or pumpkin cream in his coffee…so he gets what time of year it is. I also make sure I change the decor and the calendar in the house. Seniors have no daily change of pace…so pointing out the seasonal changes makes their days into days…not endless time with no change. Quality of care, depends on you as a care giver…so make fall a good time for you…and it will translate onto the senior you are caring for.

Blessings…francy
Oh, would you please sign up for my blog listing. With the care giving getting more and more I try to do the blog, but often miss my weekly update. When you sign up for the blog it will notify you of the new post and you can keep on top of the info. Also…please, please share this blog. You have no idea how lonely care giving can be…and if I can help a few people along my own path of caregiving it helps me feel my own life has meaning…Thank you!

Living Long, Easy – Living Well, Takes Work

Dear Francy; My parents are in their early nineties and still live in their family home. The house is small and easy for them to keep up with hired help for fix-ups and me for assistance. But, they are now doing less and less…their days are spent watching TV and sleeping. I know that they will face their end times but I want them to stay in their home as long as possible. What can I do to keep them safe and yet home, at such an advanced age?

Uncle Bill & Mom 100+ Yrs of Living

It’s all about quality of their days now…so keeping them moving and thinking —¬†it’s the key

  1. ¬†Do they move around during the day? Keeping their legs working and their balance in place is really a hot point.Make sure they move around to go to the bathroom…make them walk around the house or up and down the hall twice each time they go to the bathroom. Their commode goes over the toilet during the day to help them up and down on the toilet seat. Then at night¬†move the¬†commode into their bedroom for ease of use when they are trying not to fall at night. NO Should I ?….this is a must and do not let the senior make decisions that effect their balance and possible fall at nite!
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  3. Do they eat on trays by the TV all day long? That will keep them from knowing what they are eating and allow them to snack without thought. Have them eat at the kitchen or dining room table not in front of the TV on trays. This is really important to keep their food intake under control. Intake of food in advanced age is very hard. The palate does not taste food and the stomach is not hungry for food. So making food spiced well and served attractively is important. They will concentrate on their eating, chewing and swallowing safely. They will eat a full meal, not piece. They will be able to see each other and be forced to talk to each other to encourage their interaction. If there is a care giver there, ask them to sit and visit with them while they eat. To be there in case of swallowing problems.
  4. Do they remember what day it is and talk about things happening in the present? Their minds have to keep working not go on vacation. Keep a wall calendar and put all their appointments on it and add in family events. Grand children’s birthdays that need cards sent or calls to be¬†made – holidays coming up in large print – reminders of voting days and library return days. Keep them in the present as much as you can so they do not simply stop thinking. Order books from the library, they have special “homebound” programs that will send out a few books for them to read and return in a pouch via the mail. FREE… Talk about TV programs that are coming up that have interest for them. PBS has history series that are so well done, they have Masterpiece Mystery and Theater and art programs. These are quality shows that can be easily understood and enjoyed.
  5. Are the newspapers piling up around the house and look like they are not being read? You need to keep them thinking and reading. Change the paper to just the weekends. It means less paper to throw away and still is a weekly review of local events. Add a Newsweek or Time subscription so they get the news in detail. If they have trouble listening to news each night, this will do a full in-depth report of major events so they keep up on life around them. Remember those magazines need to be dropped off at the library. Most libraries have a magazine exchange for those that can not afford them. It’s a kind way to stay gifting all through¬†the¬†Sr’s¬†life.
  6. Is their surroundings looking dull and like grandma’s house? Everyone enjoys a clean and pretty home especially when they spend all their time in their home. Make a few changes…Add some new throw pillows for color, change the grand children photos and update their selection. Get the family photos on an electronic photo frame that will be changing throughout the day. Ask the family to help you do a weekend of painting and get the kitchen, and living area updated with new paint, clean windows and curtains. It will lift spirits and have to be done when they choose to leave the home and the house goes up for sale. So best done so they can enjoy it.
  7. Do they still have friends alive that they can connect with once a month? This is really hard- as you age- you lose your friend base.
    If friends are few and far between now, have them go to a local senior center at least once a month for a card day, or craft day or an exercise class. Let them met some new folks to get their minds going on interaction again. A senior DayCare is around $14 a hour and you can find them in care facilities. Keeping their social skills alive means they will interact with their care givers and family much better, too!
  8. Do they have something to take care of or do you do everything for them? Everyone needs to have chores and responsibilities.
    Add a pet to the house. Your local shelter will find an older dog or cat that are small and easier to care. This is an addition that will give them a worry. They will even complain at first…”Oh,NO we don’t want to worry about a pet” Well too bad; older pets need good homes and love..and so do they. This new pet will add a feeling of movement to the home, noise and something to worry over and do for all day long. It will give them a reason to get up and put them out to potty or feed them. It will allow them to pet and stroke the animal and get that tactual interaction that all people need to keep healthy. It could be a bird, it could be fish…but pets are important to older folks and not to be ignored as something to hard to handle.
  9. Do they keep clean? Is the home smelling clean?  Many older people simply do less cleaning of their home and their own person. So schedule a bath lady once a week so they have a good supervised bath. Then make sure that the house gets aired out and have a good air cleaner. You can find ozone air filters that will push the air through the house and clean it out for you. Keeping clean is a foundation for a happier disposition. You will find almost all people who are depressed dress poorly and have less personal hygiene. So if you see this in your seniors disposition, take note and remember that depression can hit elders hard and it can be addressed and treated by their family doctor.
  10. Are they missing out by not hearing or seeing well? Do not think that someone older does not need to hear or see well.
    The idea that older people do not need to hear or see well is nuts. If you are in your eighties and will live another 4-25 years you need to keep your ears and eyes working. So get them help. Ck ears for wax, get at least one hearing aid. Add TVEars (a great headset) that gives them personal hearing for the TV. This also allows the TV audio to be turned down so you do not hear the TV in every room. Check their eyes, get glasses and updated frames or add magnify sheets so they can see to read and to understand their medications and the TV schedule. Get them to remove their cataracts that will open the world to their eyes again. Keep them thinking that time is moving forward but they deserve to move with it, not get stuck.
  11. What if you live to 120? My mother never thought she would live to 100 years. She was shocked as the years moved forward and she kept living on after many physical challenges. So she would say; if I knew I would live this long I would have done more when I was eighty. You see no one thinks about this…they just think they will drop over any time after 80+ so they wait for it to happen. Doctors have answers to many problems that caused early death – now, even something simple like colds can be handled so they don’t turn into pneumonia. Heart attacks can be medicated and life extended. So stop the thinking that your elders will drop over any time now. Start thinking…” If I am going to live another five to ten years what do I need to do?” It does make a difference. Movement will be more important, eating will become something to be involved with and dressing and interactions with others will be fun again. Life can be very long and a quality life is a treasure. Keep thinking ahead as you care for elders. Mother would often say; “All these pills can’t I stop taking some?” I would then go over her pills and ask which one do you want to stop. The pill to help you not get a stroke?- the pills to make your stomach feel better, the pill to help you go to the bathroom eaiser…on and on. She then would say..well I suppose I better just keep taking them. She was right, medications, exercise, food, personal care, friendship, family and social interaction make life worth living. So keep it up, keep them moving and grooving, no excuses…before you know it will be five years down the road and they will still be in their home and happy!

I thank you for all you are doing..francy   Francy with Missy  Come and enjoy more info at www.SeniorCareWithSpirit.com  

  PS: 

¬†DONATE: I spend time-sharing¬†with hundreds of families all over the US so they can cope with caring for their senior. I‚Äôm at home with my¬†husband, George, on a full-time¬†basis and I always appreciate a donation for my time-sharing with you on this site. I thank you for your kindness‚Ķand ask that you share my site information with those that you know that are caring for seniors ‚ÄĒ francy¬†
 
¬†Join my Newsletter Listing: I just got the November¬†issue finished‚ĶI send out a newsletter and talk about the behind the scenes of daily care giving with George and clients. You‚Äôll also hear about Missy and my crazy, busy life with joy ‚Äď in the middle of chaos. It’s a more personal look at Alzheimer‚Äôs. When you click and go to my¬†home page¬†it will take you through the sign up with your name, city and email and I will send you a small thank you gift Free‚Ķfor your time. I will hold all your information private. You will receive¬†a monthly newsletter and can remove your name any time from my listing. And once again I would appreciate you spreading the news about my work, there are¬† a lot of care givers out there that could use someone to talk to and¬†get ideas¬†back. Thanks¬†so much ‚Äď francy

Your Mom Just Now Needs More Care at Home-Great Ideas-

by francy Dickinson                     www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear francy: After realizing that mom needed more care than a phone call each day things have changed. We just got through cleaning Mom’s home after years of her ignoring the mess. She had not hoarded she just did not clean. So rooms were filled with old things and now the family has cleaned it out and we are starting fresh. We had every room painted and the bath faucets updated and the kitchen got a new smaller stove and new microwave. We took your advice and got it ready for care givers. One of the bedrooms is now ready for an overnight guest or caregiver, the closets of old clothes in each room are clean too. Now it looks empty and mom is really feeling a cross between happy to have it clean and making it her own again. She is recovering from her stroke but I live two hours away and can only do so much with my weekly visits.

Well, lets start at the beginning, what a great job you and your three brothers did on the house. And how smart of you to clean and paint and ready the house for a sale if that has to happen in the near future. Since your mom is doing so much better and only needs her meals and a daily care visit of two hours, I think you have a great program going. The job now is to keep your mom busy and that might take some thinking.

Lets talk about depression¬†its much more common than you can imagine. Strokes¬†often effect the brain with sadness and so does the recovery from other health issues and of course the loss of a spouse. This whole house cleaning could also set off sadness in her daily routine. Even though your dad passed years ago, she is now¬†just facing her own older¬†and less able to do things lifestyles. I’m sure¬†she thought that your dad¬†would be there to help her at this time of life and the grieving can resurface. It¬†can be treated with drugs that help so much, but so does therapy. Even though your mom is older it would not hurt to have her do a 4 session therapy round to give her a chance to express her personal feelings to someone other than family. She may smile when you are there but she may be very sad or teary on her own, so check this out. That way she can really close some personal issues and adjust to her new life of being less mobile and more home bound. It is not easy to make that change. So even though you are there for her and your love and support is strong…your mom needs some time talking things through and getting her new lifestyle started with healthy thoughts. What you dont want is for her to be upset or confused or just feeling lonely and no one really knowing about it because she is keeping quiet.

So, lets remake the home area that has been so well cleaned and updated.  Start with an area for her to write down things she needs on a listing by her chair. If she thinks of something she writes it down and when you come on Tuesdays she can give the list to you. You can review and try to handle what ever is on the list in a wise manner. That will keep her feeling that her inability to leave the house and drive is not stopping her from getting things and items in order in her life.

Put together a plan to decorate in a lovely way for each season so she can enjoy¬†her home¬†or any room she lives in as time passes. ¬†Take older pictures of family and choose one or two and have them enlarged and put¬†up on the wall like large art pieces. This removes the clutter of fifty small¬†family frames, into a just a couple of stellar photos that reflect years ago and the current family picture. The older pictures can be scanned and put on a nice mp3 frame that will show a slide show when you touch the screen. Always put your father’s picture in a nice frame and have it where she can enjoy it..maybe one with them both as a couple but do not over do. Memories are to be cherished not overwhelming.

Add a little color with throw pillows and a good lap throw so she has color around her without changing wall color. If there is some money, recover  her better furniture It will be familiar but updated to a current nice color that reflects her personality. Add a grandchild corner with a big basket of toys for the visiting little ones. That way the kids enjoy the visit and she has a reminder of her lovely little ones around her. The house will remain clean, safe to walk around and yet feel updated with things that are currently special to her. Not things that have been there and forgotten for 30 years.   

Remember that when any person pulls their world back down into their own home or care center, their universe is smaller and therefore becomes more intense. So do not be alarmed if she gets upset with things that you feel are small and silly. The room temperature  may bother her to distraction, the way she feels sitting in her chair may be uncomfortable. What used to be a minor issue among many daily tasks is now the only issue. Deal with them as they come up and just allow her to vent until you arrive each week.

Here are some changes that you will have when your Senior is home bound:

  1. The TV may not be right for her. It becomes a big part of her life, so a new set that she can see and¬†use the remote. Adding Dish or Comcast will give her more channels and a constant reminder of how to¬†use the channels and the remote will be required for¬†quite a while tell she understands the process.¬†You might also try¬†moving an old set in a closer position¬†or get her headphones that plug into the TV so she hears without a high volume. History, sports¬†and Military channel for the guys and food, home, mystery channels for the ladies…it makes a huge difference. Set the TV with text to run on the bottom of the screen if your senior is hard of hearing so they really enjoy the viewing time.
  2. Get her into a senior center and drop her off once a week to involve her with other seniors for as long as she can do this with her health issues. This can be cards, bingo, special exercise classes, lectures, lunches, food gifting, crafts and outings. You will find that the first visit needs you by her side and then they get drawn in and really enjoy this time. It will fill their mind with things during their week and help their emotional stability. It is worth having a care giver or senior in neighborhood driving them to and from and that could be a $10-$20 investment well made for the transportation. There are vans for seniors and you can try that too.
  3. Plan events in their homes for your active family members. OK so Thanksgiving is coming up. Did you know that around the holiday many local grocery stores do full turkey dinners? You can order one for a week before Thanksgiving. They will cook the whole meal and it only needs to be picked up, warmed and served. Then invite some family and old friends over for and early Thanksgiving. This will be a full month of getting ready and making plans without the worry over the cooking and lots of left overs to give away. Then the actual holiday comes and your senior can attend the family dinner or stay home without sadness because they had their own nice celebration the week before. Works well for many.
  4. Each visit you need to open the refrigerator and make sure the senior is eating food that is being delivered and prepared. Just because food is in the house does not mean the senior is eating it. So look through the refrigerator. If the senior gets into a special diet of potatoes or just canned chili or other items dont worry, it will work itself out. Just make sure they are eating and add a Boost dietary drink so they get plenty of protein. Tell dr about the eating if it gets bad and he will prescribe meds that increase the hunger issue.
  5. On your visit ck the cleanliness of the kitchen that is a care giver job and you want to make sure the staff you hire for your senior is doing their job. Clean counters, floors, and appliances¬†are a must…check. If it is not clean, report the caregiver to the service and ask for another care giver or more time each week for a good cleaning.
  6. Check on the bathroom for the senior, it should be very clean, the caregiver also is responsible for that area. The bathchair should be in the tub the handheld shower should work and be clean. The towels should be in order. If¬†your senior has old towels remove them. You will need four good bath towels and a stack of hand clothes to make sure your senior is able to get good care. I am sure you know that the most important person you can hire to care for your senior is a bath lady. They are well trained to do a great job and will report injuries, sickness, dizziness and any other problem with your senior. You always find professional at a “In home care service” they provide a variety of care people to hit the needs you might have. They are licensed and bonded but once you use them…all expensive jewelry and family things should be given away or put into the bank box…you dont want great grandma’s brooch to be lost to the family because you did not follow through with this.
  7. How is the mail box at your senior’s home. Is it on the porch and easy for them to use, or across the street? Maybe you need to buy a new one that is larger and easier to use. Or have the mail all forwarded to the home of the person caring for your seniors finances. Getting mail each day, can be a dangerous task for those that do not walk well. If they still want their daily mail, put the pick up on the care givers to do list. Or ask a long time neighbor to drop it off and put a box on the front porch for them to do so. Then¬† make sure you thank the neighbor often with cookies or a box of candy so they know they are appreciated. This daily ck in by a neighbor can save a life one day.
  8. Watch the charge cards of seniors, they tend to build up if they sit and order items from TV or the phone. You can stop unwanted calls by removing their names on phone lists. You can get a special service added to the phone that will filter calls from anyone but approved family and friends. You can also get a good easy to hear phone with special features for hearing disabled. You can add a cell phone to your own family plan and have your senior wear it on a holder around their neck or in a belt. Teach them how to call for help and call you…you can also add a home protection service that is a button for the senior to push if they are hurt or need help.
  9. If the senior looks out into the yard from their family or living area…get the grass cut and the bushes trimmed and load up the beds with bark. You dont have to make gardening a hobby at your mother’s place, but keeping it looking in order will relax her and help the home to re-sell in the near future. If you have teens in the family ask them to make the garden and grass their task and pay them a small amount. Taking care of the home and keeping it safe will allow your senior to relax and enjoy their life. Instead of them worrying over uncut grass and the house slowing breaking down around them.
  10. Make rules for your time…if your siblings want to visit great…but remember your mother is a part of your family…just a part. Make her needs work into your life with your calendar days not her’s. She is at home each day you are working and keeping another home. So be kind, but be strong about saying I will come down on Tuesdays and get what ever I can done that afternoon and evening…the rest will have to wait till my next visit. She will soon learn the routine and she will be happier knowing you give time to her but still have time for you and your own life.
  11. Care starts small…a day here, an hour there and soon it becomes overwhelming. Remember when you make any decision have an idea of what will happen in time to come. That way each step your mother takes in her recovery and her advancement with her declining health issues- is a step that fulfills her life but is in line with her future care. What I mean is do not spend a lot of her money on things for a home that will not repay, her money is limited and will be needed for care giving in the future. If she wants fancy clothes but she can not go out the door, try to adjust her thinking to clothing that is fresh and easy for at home comfort. It takes a mind change for you both…and that is what you now must make a change and realization that your mom is older and is declining in health.But her today and tomorrow can be happy and fun and filled with hope.

I appreciate your email and that my ideas have already helped you make solid decisions on your mom’s care. You are doing a great job and thank you for your care. Please do visit my web site and remember I have written a book on Senior Care Workbook 101¬†that really helps with all the decisions and care that will be happening as time goes on. You will find the workbook on my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Blessings, francy

Alzheimer’s Confused with Too Much Change

francy Dickinson                             www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy;My husband is starting to forget who I am, he seems to be able to do tasks and is comfortable, but occasionally he asks me if I come in every day? We are leaving for a week to our cabin and I am hoping some rest away from the house will calm him and help.

I can understand your hurt feelings with your husband’s confusion. There is nothing as frightening as the stage of Dementia/ Alzheimer’s that moves the mind into forgetting close loved ones. I do also understand that one day he may be confused to the max and the next day he may be clear and able to function quite well. You are on track with knowing that keeping him calm and rested can help – but the change of pace to the cabin is not the answer.

Here are some tips to keep Dementia/Alzheimer’s at their maximum clear and calm:

  1. Clear your home of clutter.¬†Your mind can view a room and see the couch, the chair and the front door. But a mind that is confused with dementia sees all the little things on the same level or as just as important as the big things in the room.¬†¬†Like the foot stool, the table, the papers on the floor, the coffee cup and dessert plate on the table are all on par with the¬†favorite chair and the TV. It’s a different view of the same room. Your job- pare down your clutter around the house. So when a dementia senior is sitting in the room their mind can rest, not be constantly moving from item to item.
  2. Clean up kitchen cabinets, make the cabinet for glasses and cups just that –¬†glasses and cups. It is easier for them to remember what is in the cupboard and then when they open the cupboard what they were looking for is right there.¬†A bottle of aspirin or cup filled with toothpicks will take the dementia mind off of their need for a glass and they will often close the cupboard and forget their task.
  3. Remove anything that could harm the dementia senior. Extra medications- get them out of the easy to find area. If you have been storing your pills in the bathroom cabinet, remove them. You do not want your senior to take your pills in a moment of confusion. Just like you protect toddlers from medications or anything that could harm them, you need to protect the dementia senior, too.
  4. Remove things from the kitchen table, it’s a place to eat, not store bills and papers. Once again, the dementia mind can take one task or chore at a time. To keep their mind active and working well keep the table a place to rest the mind, eat and talk. Not a place filled with boxes, papers and confusion. Clean the area and the mind will rest and see the table as a relaxing place, not a place for them to be distracted with other tasks and not want to eat.
  5. 1-2 days out a week. It depends on how advanced the dementia is for your senior, but going out and about is fine for a day or two a week. It is not good on a daily basis. Take a few days at home, then a day out. Make the day out simple tasks and low people contact. Dementia mind can get tired very easily, what the senior could do last year, is not what they can do today. Keep them down to a short trip with familiar sights. Would you take a toddler out for four hours of running around and then to a big birthday party? NO, it would be way to much for them to handle, that is now the same way your dementia senior is thinking.
  6. Trips to the cabin, to visit family in another city, sightseeing, new places, new people they are all very confusing. Dementia does best with people, places and things that are repeated each day and feel safe. My husband has a sister in Oregon and children in California, he often says he wants to go and visit. On his last visit he got lost and he took about three weeks to calm down and be able to sleep and have good days on his return. Our days of travel are over; his daily routine and happiness are far more important to me than trips to say hi that pull him out of his security zone. I know that retirement means visiting and travel, but dementia means that the mind functions better with familiar and safe surroundings.
  7. Limit the people contact to friends, family and neighbors. George does so well in his daily life, then last month I took him to a family memorial for my cousin. He walked into a church he had never been, surrounded by people he rarely saw and he just blanked out. He was confused, upset, did not know immedite family members and was a fish out of water. We left as soon as possible and did not go to the family home event. I took him out to a quiet lunch, changed the subject to talk about something we do everyday and we went home. I got him calm and in his chair and listening to a new audio-book on his MP3 player. I made an error in judgement, I did not think about his comfort zone and he suffered for it. I should have gone to the memorial by myself and so I have learned a lesson. My life with my husband by my side has now changed and I have to understand and learn to accept that fact, not with joy, but with inner strength.
  8. Keep like with like. If the drawer is for knives, keep it knives, if the pot is for pens and pencils keep it that way. No mixing, no putting off items in with other items. They will be forever lost to you and your dementia senior. Repeat over and over again. Cell phones charges by the entry door. Keys go in the bowl on the counter. One day George will not remember any of those details, but for now while he is in mid stage Alzheimer’s he is comforted by repeated tasks and repeated placement of items he uses often like his cell phone and MP3 player. George lost his garage door opener and we have not found it, I know it is tucked away in an odd place somewhere, but where? I have become quite the cleaning girl now, but it has paid off for me to get rid of items that have not been used in ages and are of no meaning to George.
  9. Doctor told me his dementia patients do better longer when the senior keeps their weight in a healthy range. Alzheimer’s medications often have a side effect of reducing the appetite and the senior starts to not remember or want to eat. So, I have added a routine of 3 meals around the same time each day. I have added desserts back into our life, so there is homemade cookies, pies and cakes ready for his snacks. Yogurt, applesauce and puddings for taking pills. Ensure and Boost for adding protein when he has not eaten lunch. I keep him on schedule and he responds with better eating and better days. If I am busy, out of the house, not feeling well myself – then¬†he goes off his schedule, he forgets to eat and his pills are left on the counter. That is a lot of pressure for me, but I try my best and move on if the day has not worked out well. Life is not perfect and I have to live too.
  10. George needs rest, some days he rests all day, some days he is up and ready for life early. A man made for schedules -is no longer on schedule, I just know I give him his meds and food no later than 9AM so they go to work to help him feel calm and comforted during his day. If he stays in bed after the meal, fine – I will then continue my day and the next day he is up and at um. I ride with life, but I try to stick to the schedule and routine so George feels the days in order and is able to adjust his mind easily to an important day. Because dementia means that each day is important, the next day may be of less abilities and less memory, so today is the day to tackle and enjoy.

I think the fact of the spouse or family of a dementia/Alzheimer’s senior has the ability to give the senior a full and rich life –¬†is a big thing. On certain days it overwhelms me. I try to keep my mind focused on today, to deal with whatever today brings my way. I try to make little jokes about forgetting where George’s coffee cup is (¬†it has become a continual struggle to find it during the day.) I tell him how much I love him, all day long.¬†If he forgets, I remind him- he is loved. I tell him how nice he looks, how well he did a task and how great it is¬†he finished his meal and brought me the plate. I make a point¬†to touch him and dance with him around the kitchen. I even squeeze his hand or kiss him in public –¬†just to keep him connected. Lately, I stop on a dime and ask him to give me a hug or a kiss, he does it with love – but not without my request. I give him constant reassurance I¬†am here for him and I am not leaving.¬†Each month¬†our life changes, his mind changes and we have to readjust to his new challenges. I get frightened of the changes ahead, so I try hard to deal with the daily change and stay on a pattern and routine that brings my own feeling of safety and comfort as well as George’s.

I know you are feeling very similar things, and I know that tears and heartache are close to the surface of your daily life. But we can do it, we can escort our loved ones on this journey and still be a functioning person at the end. We can find honor and love in our senior even on their worst days and we can find peace and calm in our own hearts in midst of total chaos around us. We are stronger than we ever knew and I am proud of myself and of you.

Please do go to my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.com for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior‚Äôs home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as¬†the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care ‚Äď I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.

Senior Home from Hospital, I Need Help!

by francy Dickinson                 www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear francy: Mother is home from a 8 day hospital stay –¬†then she was in the care facility for 20 days. She was still too weak to go to her home so I have her here in our guest bedroom. I am not a nurse, I’m a crossing guard at our local school and I have no idea what to do now?

Well you have just joined the club of many children and spouses that are suddenly faced with care giving and no prior experience to guide them. First, try to stay calm and just know that a lot of things will hit you at once so you need to really stay organized and write things down as you go to make it easier. Keep a spiral notebook for your mom’s care and that will be your bible in the days ahead. I have written a how to book that will help you with the care giving but here is a list of things to do just to get started:

AFTER HOSPITAL CARE TIPS:

  1. Ask questions, the care facility will help you. Ask them if medicare will send in a home care nurse? This in home help is so wonderful. It will be someone to ask questions and to follow their lead with care ideas. Most cities have a few care companies that you can call and ask them if their services are covered with medicare and your mom’s insurance. Ask them what services they have for you and then pick what ever you can afford. Min. have a bath lady once a week, that gives you a break and keeps your mom clean.¬†Your mom¬†will be weak and hard to bath at first- so you will appreciate this service more than you know.
  2. Call the doctor’s office and “make” them talk to you. Ask them what state your mother is¬†in? Ask them to review her needs and how long it will take to get her back to independence, or if she ever will be able to live on her own again? You need to know this. If you are going to take care of her for a month or for years, you need to know. You do not want to have your mother’s things in an apartment for months with rent being paid, if she will never return to the apartment. That money could be used with you to care for her.
  3. Get your mom’s health care directive and power of attorney in place so you can help her make decisions on her health. Plus you can pay her bills and care for her money in her time of confusion. You can get her home ready for sale or her apartment contract adjusted if she has to leave her residence permanently. You can then make a decision for her to be in a long term care facility, retirement community, etc. This is the legal part that has to be done so do not put it off. It may seem like caring for her is just nursing stuff, but it is not…it is all the business of her life that will need help. I have all of the business info in my workbook for you.
  4. Ask for help, if your mom does not have any money and you have very little yourself, get the state to come in and give you advice on how they could help her. She may be able to go on state care or Veterans care and get home help. That way she could return home sooner, or you could take a class and become the legal caregiver and the state would pay you to care for her. You will not know until you call Human Services for Elders and find out what is what in your local area.
  5. Make things easy for yourself; keep her room easy to walk around, remove small rugs and extra furniture. That way you’re able to move around with wheelchairs and walkers. You can set up a commode and a table for her medications and other care items.
  6. Get your mother tucked in when you leave the house. Get her a cell phone added onto your account and have her practice pressing a button that will call you. Make sure she goes to the toilet, is fed and has her meds before you leave the house. Leave her with a small lunch cooler with a protein drink, yogurt and water inside for her to have by her chair. Move her commode into the sitting room she will be using so her movements are limited.
  7. Ask family or neighbors to come and check on her when you are gone. Think in your mind about what could happen while you are gone and then cover all the basis. If you take time off from work, then know for how long. Maybe your mom will only need a good two weeks of care before she is up and moving around on her own. But if it is longer, then what will you do? No matter how hard it is, you have to have a couple of plans of actions so you are not losing your job and income just to help your mother. Make calls, get a couple of plans in place and find people to help you.
  8. Home nursing may not be your experience but it is a lot like caring for a young child. Keep things easy, very clean, and be solid on giving her medications and good food on time. She will have to move to¬†be independent, so she needs to be walking with your help. Exercise, eating, medications on time…that is what will start to build her up again.
  9. Keep kids and long visits out of your mother’s life while she is trying to heal. You do not want her to get a cold or be so tired she gets weaker. Be strong with visits; no kids – 20 minutes- no smoking -only lite conversation-no one sick.¬†¬†Keep it light and happy or no visits at all!
  10. Keep yourself eating and sleep even if it’s naps in the afternoon. Running to care for someone and adding that to your already busy life is very hard. So, say NO to everything else but the basics in your life and stick to it. Take one of those protein drinks and have it at lunch time for yourself, as well as your mother. Keep yourself strong – you will be living for two people for a while.
  11. Baby monitor, intercom, or remote door bell system, they will all serve you well so you know when your mother needs immediate care.
  12. Your mother may have a special diet to follow, but if not think easy. Think easy to chew, swallow, and digest with her food. Make soups in your crockpot & scrambled eggs before you leave for work. Give her jello, yogurt, puddings and fruit with cottage cheese. Soft foods and easy to digest foods. Her bowels will be off with all the medications and odd foods she has been having. If she has a strange food craving say NO if you feel it will be unwise, or give her a very small amount. No raw veggies or salads those are hard for her to process. Good fruit juices and smoothies are the ticket at first. Watch the dairy products do not over do those and if she is a coffee girl, get her some decaf and keep it an afternoon treat –¬†once a day. She has to have water, so put a little fruit juice in her water so she will drink more than a few sips.
  13. Know and understand her drugs. What is this for, is it for long term or just for her recovery? Ask how to add stool softeners or yogurt for help with the side effects of antibiotics. Go over to the drug store with her medications and they will review them for you and you can write it down and get a weekly pill container that has morning and nite pills. This will make pill time easier.
  14. Remember that open wounds mean extra care, it could turn into a disaster MRSA probem. So,¬†learn how to stay so clean you are squeaky. Wash your hands each time you enter and leave your mother’s care area. Use bleach¬†wipes to go over all surfaces in care area. Keep the care products on a very clean surface so everything stays sterile. Keep the bathroom she is going to use clean to the point of exhaustion. Use a good cleaning solution like a bleach mixture and wipe off counters, toilets, bath, floor and keep it clean, clean, clean.
  15. Wash her clothing separately and in hot water with oxygen cleaner as well as soap. Do not throw her clothing on the floor, put the soiled clothes in a hamper or plastic bag to ready for wash. Do her wash at least twice a week –¬†even if it’s a small wash. Make sure your things and her’s do not touch. You are now Miss Klean
  16. If she is not walking get her up. She can hold on to her walker and you can follow with the wheelchair behind her. Or you can get a waist band that helps the senior stand and walk by you putting it around their waste and then holding on to it, to give them extra steady help. Have¬†her do the PBS- Sit and Stretch. It’s an easy exercise program that will help anyone recover muscles. You can get the program’s DVD’s at your local library.
  17. Swallowing, talking, transition, walking problems? Those need a physical therapy person trained in that area. Ask the doctor and he will write an Rx and those folks can come in to the home or you go to them. It will make a huge difference. They will show you how to help your mom. Good stuff, therapy sessions!
  18. If your mom is really weak and unable to stand without help. You need to learn how to transfer her from sitting to standing, to walking position. Ask for help, a nurse or therapist will instruct you how to do that without hurting your back. It is amazing how easy it can be if you know how. If your mother takes a fall, do not try to pick her up. Call 911 and tell them you need assistance with a fall and the fire department will send EMS services to transfer her and check to make sure she does not need hospital services.
  19. Are you ready if your mother is at the end of her life? Have you talked about her wishes and her health care wishes, and her funeral wishes? Can you sit down and have that talk? If not, ask a chaplain to come and ask her for you. Get it done, if she recovers you can file the information away for a future time.
  20. If you understand what is happening with your mother, what is wrong with her, what part of her mind or body is effected by her condition – you will be able to do research on the Internet and ask the doctor questions to get help with good care. Be strong with your voice and your questions. Understanding what your mother needs is number one, from there you, your family, your friends, your care giving professional can all work together to help put humpty dumpty back together again. If you do not ask, or demand answers you will suffer as much if not more than your mother during the recovery. Giving care is not hard, if you know what to expect – it is the unknown that bothers all of us, so ask questions and learn as much as you can when you are around any professional.

You are doing a service of love, thank you. Most of us will be there at one time or another. It is lonely and I would like to be here for you as you move through the care of your senior. Sharing your fears, frustrations, and hurt feelings will allow you to recover and give your mother good care and positive energy with your love.

Please do go to my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.com for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior‚Äôs home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as¬†the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care ‚Äď I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.

Senior Care Givers Get Organized!

By francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy; I have never been very organized and now I have college kids, husband, dogs, home, job schedules and just added caring for mom and her schedule. Where is “the me” in all of this?

I understand and although it may seem like your the me has faded into the background and rarely has a time or place to surface; I think these tips will help. The simple answer to parenting or care giving is that keeping track and reminding everyone of events and keeping the home and persons clean ‚Äď is really the most important part of the job. It is also the most exhausting. When the kids are young and go a million directions each day and make a mess at each station ‚Äď you are usually young too. You have had more energy and more brain function to handle the stress. Now, time moves on for all of us and you have even more tasks on your plate and more people pulling you in different directions. So as you once did daily life with little or no planned organization ‚Äď NOW time has changed and you have to get a grip on your daily to do’s so you do have time for the me inside to take a good soak bath or just a quiet time with your spouse after dinner.

Roll up your sleeves ‚Äď because if you’re caring for an elder or your own spouse you need to begin the organized path for all of your own and your family’s health and well being:

  1. Do it Your Way ‚Äď Calendars are a must. You have a choice, you can do it online or with your cell and keep a calendar and the reminders buzzing helping you stay on the program. Or, you can write it down on a wall calendar or daily planner. Whatever fits your needs- use it. But remember, you need a calendar!
  2. Repeat a program and put everyone on a similar schedule. If you do laundry on Monday nite after work, your college kids, and husband need to know they have to have their stuff there and in place so you can do the laundry not collect sort and fold the laundry. Be practical, do the laundry for each person so you do not have to sort and then have them fold it. Call your senior and remind them of the laundry day and ask them how many loads and such, so you know they are also on the program for the day. This is how you keep it simple, do not adjust to five different schedules, make others adjust to yours and it will go so much smoother. (Remember; this way or the highway and the highway is them doing their own laundry wo/your help. Be strong ‚Äď you do the work, you set the rules and schedules) Set the basic cleaning, house and personal stuff on the calendar and then repeat and repeat. That is how the process gets easier because they all get it drilled into their head that Monday is laundry, Tuesday is outside the house chore day, Wed is clean house day, Thursday is zip, Friday is family time, Sat is visit and help senior day, Sunday is quiet and recover day. Make up your days, but make them clear and repeat each week. Say No to things that do not fall on the right day so you do not wide up feeling exhausted. Or just float a day into the next Friday and move on. But try hard to stick to your days and your family will adjust and follow suit.
  3. Remind everyone of the different chores of the week. Then stick to them. After a few weeks it will all gel and get so much easier. I know that garbage is Tuesday at our house, but I still have it marked on my wall calendar each week. I would always have mother’s garbage day marked on my calendar too‚Ķso when we spoke the night before I could get her to remember, or stop by to put it out on the curb myself. I love using wall calendars, they make my days easier. I do use a daily calendar in my office on the desk, but that is reserved for most of my work related information. I keep Birthday and events, appointments on the web so I get reminders and anything that involves another person in the family is up on the wall calendar.
  4. Appointments are hard to manage in a busy life, so you will have to pick a day during the week and on Saturday for doctor appointments for your senior. You will find that if you pick the day and tell the doctor’s office this is your day for appointments they will find one for you. Your life will be much smoother. Remember seniors that need care do not do well before 10 AM or after 4 PM so work within those boundaries. Bring your Medical spiral notebook that’s just used for doctor appointments for your parent or spouse. This way you have all the information in your bag or car and you’re ready to take notes and ask questions. Time for appointments is usually 2-3 hours. You have to drive, transfer, do the appointment, wait, do the tests or drug store run, drive back and maybe do a quick stop for a treat for the senior. So do not think your lunch hour is enough, it will take longer than you think. (I have a great E book called Senior’s Doctor Visits Check List that gives you all sorts of ideas for better appointment and doctor interactions ‚Äď you will find it on my site clicking on Products.)
  5. I made a deal with myself that on days that I take someone to the doctor, I only do two more chores along the way and one of them is passive, like eating. It really takes a lot of energy to collect a senior and keep totally concentrated on their wellbeing and their appointment information. So to add a shopping trip or a few more stop and pick up this or that… is way to much for me. My mom would get home and be happy about her day and I would get home and be exhausted and still facing the evening with making dinner and the usual night time tasks. So, keep yourself well and do not over book your senior drive day.
  6. If you’re cleaning your home than wait a couple of days before you go over to your senior’s home and clean theirs. I remember the depression I would have from trying to get my house work caught up and then driving over to my mother’s or other senior’s places and do the same thing all over again. I learned to separate my own cleaning on a day that I would not be doing cleaning for someone else. I had to preserve my energy and my mental attitude.
  7. Start each day with a review of what is happening on the calendar and then you are ready for your morning check-in call for your senior. You can remind them that this is a “get the garbage ready to go out day”. This is a “get the refrigerator clean so we can go to the store tomorrow day”. That way you give the senior chores they can do to ready their home for you to come and quickly get the rest of the chores finished. Then go ahead and ask your usual daily questions about all around health and reminders for pills, food and such. This way, you give them something to do for you‚Ķthat’s always the key. When you work with parents always ask them to do you a favor. “Mother, I’m stopping by tonight on the way home- to put out the garbage can and give you a hug. Would you please get your waste baskets all empted and put into a trash bag and I will run in and chat and then take out the garbage. Hey, how about I bring you a hamburger and shake for dinner, sound good?” That is the way you get it done, ask for a favor, remind them of the task and reward them for their efforts.
  8. Saying NO. There are times when things you do for a senior are important and have to go on the top of your list. Then there are times when the senior is lonely and they think of things to get you over to visit them in-between your normal days. This has to be contained or you will lose your ability to multitask successfully. Sort out the pleas of I need help. Let the senior know you will be there in two days and you can add that to your task list. I got mother a nice white board and she would write down things that she needed me to do. Each time I visited, I would cross off a few and then delegate a few more and finish the rest at the next visit. Delegate is to call a sibling or your spouse and ask them to do a certain chore that you know they can do or afford to provide. This keeps you from feeling like you are holding the whole world together (even if you are!)
  9. Each season comes with extra tasks and the best thing to do is keep them connected. If you are going to have someone clean your gutters, then ask the same person do clean your senior’s home and share the cost. If you are going to change the batteries on your fire alarms or heating unit filters, do the same at your seniors. Spring time is always a good excuse to clean out closets. Hire a family member to help you and get your closets clean and clothes and linens to the charity store and do the same for your senior. The response to cleaning out things for seniors is always hard; they hate change and do not want to give away anything. But, if you show them you did your home first, they know the fork lift is coming through their closets, next. It makes it easier for them to adjust. If you do it year in and year out. It becomes an accepted norm. But remember the routine, ask them to help you, get the task done, then reward them. So the closet and old clothes are gone. But the shopping for a few new things goes on the calendar so they see they have a reward coming.
  10. Getting organized does not always mean cleaning up the office and linen closet. It means that from this day forward you will start with a clean slate and make new rules for your life style. Once the rules are in place, you will have the same day each week for that yoga class, or long nap after work, or favorite TV show that you taped. And still get things done and feel in charge. Organizing brings a sense of control over your normal crazy life. It means that you live in the now, with an eye on your future. That way you can emotionally enjoy your life, not just suffer through another day. Live strong within your mind, body and spirit and that will reflect off onto your family, spouse and senior or parent.

Blessings on all that you do, because YOU keeping strong / gives your family the ability to live their lives feeling calm and joyful.

I hope this has helped you with ideas. Please do go to my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.com for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as¬†the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care – I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to¬†my husband with Alzheimer’s and¬†my books and services are¬†how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.

How to Clean when Flu Hits Town

by francy Dickinson                          www.seniorcaretips.com

Dear Francy; Dad is so fragile right now, just out of hospital – just getting his appetite back. He has cleaning girls and bath ladies and such in the house and I worry about the flu going around?

You should worry, anytime other people come into the home to clean or give care it is exposing the senior to germs. The recent flu outbreak can work around the country and usually it’s elderly and small children that are effected the most. So cleaning is what we do and we do it on an ongoing basis. I know it sounds boring but I am going to go over the different rules of keeping your home even cleaner than hospitals!

Keep it Clean- tips for you or your cleaning care or office staff:

  • You will find solutions at your medical supply, beauty supply, pharmacy that are concentrated and used for cleaning surfaces. You buy these and then thin them down with water and put them into spray bottles- large or small- and they are there for you to use in your cleaning all the time. A small bottle should be by your desk to go over all the surfaces of the office like the keyboard, phone, printer and anywhere you rest your hands. Do not think you are the only one using the area, others may come by and expose it and you may pick up something from place A and move it yourself back to your place B.
  • Washing solution that you can make at home is one tsp bleach with one gallon of water. This solution lasts only 24 hours. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners such as glass cleaner, it makes a nasty gas that will sicken you.
  • Bleach is what kills most germs, but some surfaces will be harmed by bleach so you can look for solutions that have¬†other¬†solutions and use those. I have a product called Amazing that I buy at the dollar store – it has bleach in it and I use it all over the house, all the time.
  • You can also buy pop up – pre moistened- towels with bleach mixture on them. They’re easy to use and you can get them in large quantities at Walmart, Costco and other box stores. Use the towel for one area or room at a time and then throw it away. They are very easy to teach children to use in their own bathrooms and bedroom areas. I think kids need to know how not to spread germs at an early age.
  • Get in a habit of using the pre moistened towels as you enter a shopping area and use a cart. Most stores have them for your use now, so go over the handle and area around the cart and throw them away. Have the small bottles of liquid cleaner in your purse, car and office desk, as well as by the side of your senior in their favorite chair. You can buy the bottles very cheap at the dollar store. Use them when you are out with kids and never eat or touch yourself without using this liquid antibacterial bottles of soap.
  • Sneeze into your elbow area of your arm and do not touch your nose or eyes when you are out and about. Use a Kleenx if you need to stratch or rub those exposed areas. Many people use something like neosporin in their nose when they go out in the midst of a nasty outbreak of a bug. I have done this myself, but I have no information on the success of this action.
  • Remember you want to use paper towels to do the cleaning and throw them away as you move from room to room or when they get damp. You need to dry the surface, it’s the moisture that things grow in. Regular towels can harbor the germs and move them around the house, so use paper towels to keep clean.
  • Bath towels should be used and washed after someone sick has taken a shower. All towels in the bathroom are up for washing machine clean if the family is unwell and the surface of the bathroom needs to be cleaned.
  • If you’re using the bleach mixture,¬†then you need to wear rubber gloves as you clean to protect your hands. Buy rubber gloves in most grocery and large box stores. But buy¬†just one box of¬† both the latex and non latex and try them out and see if you show any signs of allergies. Once you know the type of rubber gloves you use best, then you can buy a large amount of them at the medical supply center or Costco. You can have the doctor actually write a prescription for them to help with the cost and if nothing else, they can come off the taxes in the medical care section for the patient/or you, if you are claiming them as a dependant.
  • If you have not cleaned heavily lately, do it now. I make it a¬†task to do the surface of the care home/nursery in the evening when every one is going down to bed. That way the day’s germs are taken care of and in the morning we start fresh all over again.
  • Wash hands before and after you put on gloves. The gloves protect you from germs but touching them will bring them back onto your hands. Do not think gloves mean that you are safe from germs, you are touching the germs with the gloves and taking off the gloves is something that is taught to you in nursing aid classes. If you have not taken one, ask a nurse at the doctor’s office to show you and she will walk you through it and you will have it down in no time.
  • Washing hands is done all the time and you need to get used to it if you are a mom, care giver¬†or just live alone. The world is full of more people, more people make more germs and you are in the middle of it.
  • Check out soap contents before you buy. I’m allergic to aloe and they are putting that in lots of hand soaps, so I have to be careful not to buy those. They ask you to use antibacterial soaps out of the home and regular soaps in the home. But using any soap is better than none. So buy some soft soaps at the box store and just wash your hands on a regular basis or when ever you do a task with another person or when you move from a care giving room to another.

Proper Hand Washing Guide:

  1. Make sure you have everything you need at the sink before you wash your hands. That would be your liquid soap, your paper towels and a trash can that is ready for you to drop the towel in to- without touching another surface. >> Use one of the paper towels to open the public bathroom door after your hands are washed clean.
  2. Turn on warm water and keep the water running while washing your hands, this is not a time to worry about water consumption.
  3. Rub palms together to make a lather. Scrub between your fingers and the entire surfaces of the hands and wrists remember under your nails. Scrub for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly by pointing fingers down so the water does not run up your wrists
  5. Dry hands well with paper towels that are clean and make sure they are dry, not moist. You can use hand lotion if available to prevent chapping.
  6. If chapping occurs then talk to the pharmacist and ask them if they think it is the soap, the gloves or just the washing? He can recommend a good moisture cream that will help your skin.

I hope this information helps you through out the full year. Winter is not the only time for germs, they lay in wait all year long. Faucets, toilet handles, light switches, door bells, all kitchen surfaces, pens and scizzors in your kitchen office area, crayons and dog toys. The list is long. But if you and your family get used to cleaning up after dinner in the kitchen and call the clean up, surface clean up as well as dish clean up, it can really help to lower the sniffles.

If you give care and you’re sick, do not go into the senior area – get help to take over your place until you’re well. You can find face masks at the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist how to use them for full effectiveness.

Please go to my website and read more information on basic care giving. I also have fun radio shows that will give you good info at http://bit.ly/F9bwQ  and the informaiton on how to really give care well is in my workbook called Senior Care 101 Workbook, that you can find on the products page of the www.seniorcarewithspirit.comsite. Thanks, francy