It's helpful to remember the people being cared for at home are likely having trouble with the situation. By maintaining compassion and empathy, you can find common ground and often share joy and laughter. Here are a few tricks to make life a little easier for yourself and your client.
Does your client have problems with dexterity? Fashion your own tool at home by rolling up a washcloth and securing it, or cutting a hole in a tennis ball where a pen or fork can sit, so someone whose hands are less than dexterous or are weak may write or eat.
People with dementia often have trouble remembering where things are. Take photos of what's in the drawer or the cabinets and attach it to the outside, so they know exactly what's inside.
Does your client have multiple doors and keys? Get colored covers for the keys so you can easily identify which key goes with which door and place colored tape on the door locks so your client can match the key to the lock.
Use brain-training apps on your client’s smartphone to help them improve their memory. Luminosity, Brain Trainer and Cognifit Brain Fitness are just a few that may reduce your clients' cognitive decline.
Wrap a rubber band around drinking glasses. This helps improve the grip and reduce the slip from your client’s hands.
Simple ice packs can help reduce pain. Wet a sponge, put it in a Ziplock bag and freeze it. A second option is to add 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% water to a Ziplock bag and freeze it. The water never freezes completely and can conform to elbows and shoulders. It also stays cold longer than other ice packs. Be sure to place a towel between the ice pack and skin to reduce the risk of frostbite.
Replace current toilet seats with comfort-height seats that are higher than traditional ones. Inserts can also be used without replacing the toilet. This helps your client easily get up and down off the toilet.
Be sure the hot and cold water faucets are marked properly with a red and blue dot. Nail polish works if the paint on the faucet handles has worn off.
Help your clients stay active by doing exercises in their chair, such as jumping jacks while sitting. Soup cans are lightweight dumbbells, and knee bend exercises can be done while standing at the back of a chair. An elastic exercise band can be wrapped around the feet while seated to help build upper-body strength. Each of these also helps build core muscles and therefore reduces the risk of falls.
Use classical music to help stimulate cognitive function and relax your clients in the evening.
Attach a keyring to the end of the zipper pull for a larger surface to grip. This helps patients maintain autonomy while dressing.
If balance or cognitive decline is an issue, use childproofing items, such as bumpers for sharp furniture covers and drawer locks for drawers with dangerous or hazardous items.
Spice racks on the wall of the bathroom can help organize bottles and containers. When placed at arm's length, they can be easy to reach and provide access to some of the more used items in the bathroom.
Automatic night lights can help light the way for nighttime trips to the bathroom. This avoids the harsh glare of the bathroom light that can reduce the ability to get back to sleep.
If your client likes bar soap, slip it inside a pantyhose stocking and tie it to the shower. This allows them to use the soap and prevents it from sliding away if it drops.
When buttons become too difficult to manage, think about replacing with velcro or zippers, so the person you're caring for can get dressed easily and maintain their autonomy.
When visual perception is an issue, use a small hand towel over a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub so there is a focal point for your patient and additional cushioning as your client gets in and out of the tub.
Become an In-Home Caregiver Today!
Sometimes the smallest tricks may make daily challenges easier for you and your clients. Our goal is to help our professionals provide the best care possible for their clients while reducing their own risk of injury or burnout. Contact us today and we’ll help you find your next assignment and support your efforts to improve the lives of your clients.