Family Caregiver – Part 5 – Caring For Disabled Elderly – More Daily Living Tips

You never know when a little suggestion can come in handy. I’m always thinking, I’m sure there’s an easier way to do this. It takes a while to find the right combination, but the end results are worth it.

1. A gooseneck portable floor lamp is easily moved closer to the bed or wheelchair for reading.

2. An adjustable fold-down table is handy for reading as it can be tilted to hold the book or magazine at a comfortable reading angle, and it moves easily over carpeting when it needs to be moved out of the way. It also works well for snacking away from the kitchen table.

3. Setting up daily pills dosages the night before is a time saver when you don’t know how the next morning is going to start out. Divided pill boxes work and are easily taken on trips. I saved the little dosage cups from his trip to the hospital and use them to keep and separate his pills for the day, nesting one inside the other, stacking them in the order to be taken. It’s also easier for helpers, CNAs, if the pills are already dispensed in the dosage to be given at specified times. You will also know if you missed a dosing if the pills are still in the container that should have been emptied two hours ago.

4. Bibs are work savers. Get them long enough and wide enough to do the job. Anchor the bib sides to the cloth of the patient’s pants legs with pinch clothes pins to keep it from sliding out of position. When caught without a bib use a hand or dish towel held in place on the patient’s shoulders with pinch clothes pins. When eating out a bib can be embarrassing to the patient. I carry a black hand towel to use in addition to the napkins supplied at the restaurant. Black or dark colors will not be as obvious to other diners as to its purpose.

5. A simple plastic table cover can make life a lot easier. Be sure to place a cloth place mat or dish towel on the table to receive hot dishes or you will melt the plastic table cover. If you really like your fancy table covers you can protect them with clear or frosted plastic sold by the yard at fabric stores like Jo-Ann Fabrics. Clean up the plastic with soap and water and do a thorough cleaning with spray disinfectant.

6. A tip on using the mechanical pneumatic patient lift – Getting up from the floor – Occasionally he will stumble and fall due to his inability to keep his balance. Most times to get him up we have been able to have him roll over and get his legs under him into a kneeling position and hold on to a chair or other sturdy object that can take the weight of his pulling himself up (with my assistance).

This time he was determined to get down on the floor to examine a project he wanted to work on. I knew there was no room for him to maneuver. I had to use the mechanical pneumatic patient lift to get him up again and was glad we had it stored where I could pull it out and put it to use. He wasn’t happy about me not being able to get him up, but without that lift, he probably would have spent the rest of the day there until I could get help to get him up.

Lashell Coykendall

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