YOU NEED TO KNOW TIPS by francy Dickinson
Dear Francy; Dad just told me his bottom itched…now I am telling you no one could love the guy more than me…but I do not want to be caring for his itchy bottom…Bill, in Sacramento
I get you Bill…it’s like having kids. Someone, someone has to change that diaper…and if the room is empty all but you….YOU ARE THE GUY!
George’s care is getting more and more difficult and his doctor appointments are so frustrating using the Veteran’s. I spend most of my free time, ordering Rx and making appointments. But I have a whole boat load of YOU NEED TO KNOW TIPS— so take notes…you really do need to know this stuff:
YOU NEED TO KNOW TIPS:
- Elders have a strong and weak side. Not the side they write or eat with…but the side that is stronger or dominant. As the elder walks which foot is moving better? I have a way to tell…you have the elder hold their arms straight out in the front of them shoulder height. Then as they keep the arms straight they move the arms up and down about 10 inches…like a flutter. You will see when you watch them, one arm is working well and the other is out of balance or rhythm. Now you know which side is in control. What to do with that info? Start to address the weak side. Give the senior pills or their newspaper to the weak side. Sit and talk to them on the weak side. You are trying to get the brain to accept and use the weak side as much as you can. During the exercise time…make sure the weak side is first and does it slower but well. Keep that brain working on each side…so small strokes, or decline in brain functions is being dealt with on a daily basis. If the brain goes a day without talking to muscles…it will lose the ability…keep them moving.
- Keep your senior eating well. If you senior is not eating meat…learn to cut it for them ahead of time. This way they will take the meat and chew it…but you have to look at the plate and think…how you can make it easy to eat and attractive to view. The senior’s mind needs that message…easy, pretty = good food.
- Always hungry? Or Senior forgetting they have eaten. I have gotten a lot of small things to eat. Like fish crackers, animal frosted cookies and baby carrots. This way when the senior forgets they just ate dinner or lunch…and they come back to you for more food…you just have a little something to give them in a very small bowl. I have small white bowls for sauces, that I use to fill with a few little bites for them to enjoy…just like you would a toddler.
- Even if the senior is using their cane, they need their walker. You need to quietly remind them over and over again…you do not want them to fall. A cane can help them inside the bathroom…but a walker gets them to and back from the bathroom. You can get a cane that stands up..but make sure the base legs are not going to trip the senior. The walker should be really steady, not pretty, steady!
- Long before I needed a wheelchair or commode, I got them. I took George into the PT and asked them to Rx the medical needs. With Veterans I got them without any deposit, with insurance you will pay a co pay. But you need them…because the need always comes at night or on a weekend and you are stuck. Do not be stuck…be ready. Be aware that the wheelchair has to fit into your car…and the commode is not light, its weighty. You can keep them in the garage but do it! I always ask my families to ask a member to help them with things like that. Call someone that said, “if there is something you need call me.” This is the time, for the brother, sister, aunt or uncle to pay for the wheelchair or other medical equipment.
- UTI’s are not funny…seniors get them often. They will take the senior down fast and quick. So I have to remind you. Ladies do not wipe their bottoms from the back to the front. That puts the feces into the urethra area and infection happens. Watch the dementia senior and remind them to properly wipe their bottom. Men need to clean their penis area. Often running-water issues arise with dementia…so get extra wash cloths and have the senior use one for their face, one for the under arms, and one for their private parts. Do this each morning and life will be easier.
- Bath every week, once or twice…and if you can afford it…please hire a bath person. They are so professional and they are in and out of the house in no time. The senior responds well to them and instead of fuss and muss…it is over and done.
Pills are hard for seniors to take. “Always” review Rx with main doctor and ask if they are all necessary. Then add the magic. Get a bottle of Fiber Choice “Fruity bites” They are little gummy candy and the seniors love them. I use three of them each morning in the pill container. So George sees the gummies and eats them first and then takes his pills. Instead of arguing over pills you have a happy senior. Plus! The fiber in the pills helps the senior process food easier.
- Know the difference from using a daily stool softener and adding a daily fiber addition to the senior’s menu. Have Imodium on hand, Parkinson’s really has a challenge with diarrhea and you want the senior to get the Imodium right away so they do not have a challenge all day or all night.Do not struggle with constipation w seniors, a little green tea before bed will clear it up and the stool softener will keep it all in good shape.
- George does not eat like he used to eat…I would say he eats ½ to 1/3 of what he used to eat. So I make sure I give him full plates…I just bought smaller plates to use instead of our everyday large plates. I give him a full dinner, just a smaller amount. I make sure it is well delivered…so it looks like a restaurant plate. That keeps their eye interested and they tend to eat more. If you plop a white bread sandwich on a plate…they often push it away. So give them half a sandwich, a ¼ sliced apple and five or six chips or crackers…that will get them into the food.
- Importance of fruit. The l’dopa in the brain bounces up and down like a sugar high or low. A person needs the l’dopa….so you have to keep food at an even level. A 4’o clock Sundowner’s low means you need to perk up the senior. You can do this with apple slices and peanut butter dip, or a small cup of melon with an animal cracker…small treats to rise the sugar and rise the l’dopa. Add a cuppa tea or decaf coffee and they will be happy till dinner.
- Kids are not fun for a senior with health or brain challenges. Yes, they love their grandkids…but remember the visiting 20 minute rule. Just tell your kids that they can come and see Grandpa…but only if they are well…and stay 20 minutes. Even that time frame will send a senior to nap for a day after. So be wise, speak up..no feelings hurt…tell it as it is…no kids for longer than 20 minutes.
- Sleep is OK…do not get all out of shape over napping or a day in bed. Yes the elder in care needs to exercise…and they need to be challenged with good TV, walks, or sitting outside, calls made for them to talk to old friends and a calendar of events for them to check off each day. But, if they need to rest…their brain needs to rest. They have so little energy, that often the brain needs to be quiet and rest to restore it. If George has visitors, goes to the doctor, goes out to lunch with me…I know tomorrow is going to be a “rest day”. I plan for that in the bigger picture of our week.
- Dressing and hygiene…they are really, really important. NO George does not wear a suit any longer, or pants with belts. But George does wear comfy pull on pants that are soft and easy to get up and down. Yes, he has plenty of pants to change into since accidents do happen. Yes he is cold all the time. But I do make sure he has nice layered tops to keep him warm and still look good. No he does not wear sports shoes any longer. Yes he does wear an expensive pair of slippers from Land’s End so he is supported but they are easy on and off. No he has little hair, but yes, I have a nice collection of different hats for him to wear around the house and keep warm. No George does not go out but Yes, I put a moisturizer with SPF on his face every day (Oil of Olay). Facial skin looks horrid as you age…you need to keep up with a good facial moisturizer so the senior sees themselves in the mirror…not a scary old person. Yes, shaving, and deodorant is used every day by men and women, no matter what their age. Yes, older ladies are still ladies they need their hair done and men need a good face shave and haircut. This is what keeps the brain feeling good for the senior when they get up and brush their teeth. They see a person that is clean and looks good. Yes, it means running around for you , the care giver, but this is what is needed to keep the senior in quality-loving care.
- Teeth? Yes you need to check their teeth and get them attended too. George and I both use a sonic tooth brush and floss…and we whiten our teeth twice a year with a tooth whitener from Walgreens. It makes our teeth brighter and we look younger the minute the first day of treatment is over. Be smart – keep your senior looking sharp within the parameters of their health. It’s really important!
- Toes need to be done…so you have an array of choices. Medicare pays for toe clipping every 90 days at a podiatrist…a bit too long for me. Senior centers have nurses that come and check feet and do the toe clipping each month. A better solution. The best…a nice pedicure at a nail shop. They soak, message, clip and moisturize the feet…I get George a large latte and he sits there in heaven. So I suggest the $20 be used. It’s also a perfect thing to ask one of the adult children, of the senior, to do with the parent. Take them out for a pedicure and then lunch. A great way for the senior to check in with the kids and keep their feet healthy each month. Remember any issues with diabetes need to have their feet checked each month…they do not heal well and the circulation issues makes this a MUST DO.
OK that is it for now…if you work on those…I will get you more…
As George goes farther and farther into his Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s the challenges just seem to be daily. But, as I always say…you just have to suck it up and be creative. Talk about it with family and friends. Send me an email and I will help and over all…take time to breathe…
Thank you for caring for your senior…they need you…and you are giving love to them…how cool is that? Blessings francy
PS: Would you click the sign up button so when I do update my blog you are sent the info. I am doing less blogging because I have so much care giving duties…but I am always here for you. Please pass this on to a friend that is caring for a senior in their lives…thanks! F.