There are good caregivers out there to help you. There are also many awful ones. If you had small children at one time, you were most likely very particular about selecting a babysitter for them. Caring for seniors is no different.
I have gone through six different caregiver agencies. If you are hiring, you have the best chance to get a good caregiver if you can offer them the same hours every week. I cannot do that. I need someone if I have grocery shopping to do or if one of my children needs to be driven somewhere. I cannot predict each week when things are going to come up so I get the caregivers who are either the new ones without regular clients or the floaters who pick up hours with clients such as myself. Money is an issue and I cannot afford to hire someone for hours when I do not need a helper. Continue reading Finding a Caregiver→
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get creative.
One day, my daughter was asking my mom what kinds of toys she played with in the 1940’s. My mom replied that she did not have many toys at all, but she and her friend spent hours playing with paper dolls of a certain movie star. I found the dolls on eBay and bought them for her. The originals were framed for her room. Before I framed them, I scanned one, printed it out and laminated it, so that she could use it as a bookmark or little memento.
Our world today is so different than the world of someone who grew up during the Great Depression. We are swimming in material items, many of them new and it can be overwhelming.
Find a mixing bowl or decorative item that is a blast from their past. Second hand stores can often be just the place to find just the item that will evoke a happy memory.
Finding activities for seniors can be quite the challenge. You may have to try several things before you find success. Be ready to change the activity midstream to try to turn a frustration into a win.
Last week I was decorating cookies with my parents. We iced them and then the decorating ensued. My dad became quickly frustrated because he was quite the artist in his younger day, but he found that his hands now tremble too much to be able to do the decorations. We quickly changed gears. I had him work on just the icing, which is a gross motor skill, and had my mom continue with the detail work, fine motor, which delighted her.
Two fabulous items that will help you to be a better caregiver!
My mom needs 24/7 supervision. That makes the nighttime awakenings tricky. At some points in her time with us she was regularly waking up seven times per night.
For a while I used a baby monitor, but my mom screams and talks in her sleep so that was not a good solution. I was not getting a restful sleep because I was always listening to every little sound and often running to her room, needlessly.
Next, I tried out a bed alarm like the ones they use in the hospitals but I soon realized that every time she rolled over the alarm went off.
I found the perfect solution in Radio Shack. It is a motion detection sensor with two simple parts from Chamberlain (see: http://www.chamberlain.com/clicker-and-accessories/wireless-accessories). One part, which is a small, battery-operated box, sits on the floor at the head of her bed. The alarm plugs in next to my bed. The moment my mom’s feet go over the side of her bed and break the light beam, the alarm goes off in my room and I can run out to her room before she even stands up.