Caregiver Tips

July 6, 2020 (c) Judith Allen Shone

BECAUSE OF YOU, because you took the time to share, another caregiver will have your caregiver tip in their toolbox! 💙 Thank you!

The foundation of caregiver knowledge comes from caregivers – sharing tips, coping mechanisms and strategies, which they have learned during their journey caring for another with memory loss.

We caregivers are always grateful for help…help caring for others as well as caring for our own health and well being. Important and timely information will help us make our way through the darkness of Alzheimer’s world. We welcome all the kind support we can get!

If you notice comments already are in a category where you would like to offer a suggestion, send you suggestion. anyway We need all the perspectives and ideas that people know have worked.

We want to share any tips that will help those who are caregivers…whether for a parent or parents, a spouse or a child. Email your tips. Thank you.


Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto posts: “

Family caregivers are vital to ensure the health and quality of life of a patient with dementia. Research shows that a caregiver’s health and well being can be affected. The caregiving process is complex and challenging. You may experience anxiety about the multiple changes in your own life. . .so take care of yourself while you care for your family member or friend with dementia.

Caregiver hugs!

Let’s give caregivers all the information and support we can collect.
Please HELP build up this section of
CAREGIVER TIPS.


When you think of it, write your tip into your email program and Email your tip to me ! Let’s add it to our collective knowledge for other caregivers.
It is important to all caregivers to support Sharing Our Knowledge!. Thank you.

Types of support to be aware of, to seek out,
to have at hand, to be prepared:

  • Behaviour specialists
  • Caregiver support groups – other caregivers
  • Community health charities or support programs
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s organizations locally and online
  • Education support-classes or research online
  • Financial advisor familiar with the dementia issues
  • Friends and family – each one has unique talents to share
  • Hospice and palliative care support
  • In-home support – respite and health-care services
  • Legal counsel from one familiar with memory loss individuals.
  • Medical professional support – keep the medical team close
  • Online zoom teams or teleconferencing groups
  • Physical support – therapy, exercise, health activities
  • Respite services for both caregiver and loved ones
  • Specialty behaviour groups
  • See also Quintessential Caregiver Support

TIP CATEGORIES
Find a tip – Leave a tip!

Not every suggestion will apply to everyone.


ACTIVITIES:

CHOICES: Loved ones with memory loss still want to feel they have control of their lives. Often, giving them two choices—we can shower now or in an hour?— or —would you rather paint or look at this book?—allows them the feeling they are still independent and part of the decision making. If the choices offered seem too complicated for the loved one, stop and reword the offer so their frustration is eased. The caregiver will want to manage the complexity of the choices, knowing the declining abilities of their loved one to make decisions will be based on the degree of the dementia progression. ~Glenna S., caregiver for mother 🌴

ENTERTAINMENT: When Mom was losing most of her abilities to communicate but was still very ambulatory, we looked for as many things to do where the activity was the entertainment rather than conversation.  For us in a small town, there were not many obvious choices.  We went to the farm stores in the spring when the baby chicks were in stock, we drove around looking for the most beautiful trees that were blossoming or leafing out, we have spent countless hours at the duck pond and watching Canada Geese in the park.  Mom is not tempted by television, the radio or any of the more common distractions so getting outdoors was key. ~Robby, caregiver 🌻


STAYING BUSY SHREDDING: One day when I was grasping at straws as to how my loved one could help me out, I remembered that I had a lot of things that had to be shredded and that was the beginning.  I got the shredder out and the things that needed to be shredded and he went to work.  He loved doing it so much but we eventually ran out of things to be shredded.  I then reached out to family and friends and they would drop off things they needed shredded.  He is so happy when he is shredding.  This may be something your loved one would also like to do. Who would have thought? ~ Carol, spouse-caregiver 🌼


STAYING BUSY FOLDING CLOTHES: My wife likes to do what I am doing. This is not always possible. I have found that if she needs my suggestion, I have a laundry basket of clothes that she can fold…or refold if there are no new clothes from the dryer. She likes to be near me and this keeps her mind working while she is doing something where the frustration level is low. ~ Michael D., caregiver for wife.🛴


AGGRESSION:


AMBIGUOUS LOSS, GRIEF:


AGITATION, ANXIETY:

STUFFED ANIMALS: Nervous agitation can sometimes be calmed by the presence of a pet, real or not. A stuffed animal can take the place of a real animal when one is not available or permitted, or for any reason, not appropriate. In some cases, the same calming benefits that a real animal provide can be felt with a soft, lovable, furry, stuffed animal that has the appearance of being real. Some even offer movement in response to being touched.

The needs to nurture, to be interactive, to love and feel loved in return, and even to feel one has ‘a job’ to care for another, often are satisfied by a stuffed animal. There are fewer safety issues related to a stuffed animal, so quality and purpose of the manufacturer are important, whether animated or the traditional teddy type. My Love knows his animals are not real but he has named them and, at times, treats them as if they are real. He seems not to feel alone and seeks them out when he wants a cuddle. ~Jas, caregiver 🌷


ANXIETY ATTACKS: There are any number of behaviours that seem to qualify as ‘anxiety’ – just look on YouTube! But if your doctor has diagnosed anxiety, you can try this. If I can catch it soon enough, is to get more oxygen into My Love’s blood stream, I ask him to deep breathe. He has a COPD breathing device called an Aerobika, we have adapted for concentrated breathing. It gives the same results as deep breathing— in through the nose, 2,3,4,5 out through the mouth 2,3,4,5— and will help to calm him many times to eliminate the need for medication. The breathing seems to be a distraction similar to the ‘5-4-3-2-1 Technique’ of concentrating on objects long enough for the anxiety to pass. Each event has been different, so we try different coping mechanisms. ~Jas. caregiver 🌷


BEHAVIOURS:

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES: I learned from my counsellor that changes reflecting behaviours that were significantly different from our ‘normal’ were red flags telling me we had to visit his doctor to find out what was happening. Big changes , especially if they are ongoing, can be signals something new is happening in the body. Go immediately to see the doctor for discussion and testing! ~ Jas, spouse-caregiver🌷


CLOTHING:

SEASON CHANGES: I noticed My loved one with Alzheimer’s needed help during temperature changes this fall. I realized I needed to make suggestions for adding a sweater, using a blanket, even wearing the full set of pj’s, not just a top. The temperature when we get dressed may not be the same throughout the day or when we go to bed, and so a ‘check-in’ once in a while will keep a loved one comfortable, regardless of the season. Don’t forget to confirm, before they need them, that coats still fit. Locate boots, hats and gloves, or shoes for any season. ~ Emily. E. therapist and co-caregiver 🌾


COMMUNICATION, LANGUAGE:


PROCESSING LANGUAGE: When my husband was in middle stages of Alzheimer’s, I noticed he began to misunderstand words or would ‘miss’ them altogether. Then I realized he had trouble following instructions. I repeated myself often and even then I had to add visual instructions as well.

For instructions, I spoke one step at a time and did not go on until each step was completed. I learned to use fewer words—simpler words helped him grasp the meaning. I tried not to yell the words (he could hear), to speak slowly, confirming he understood the meaning.

I have acted out words, (like charades) to add visual cues to the audio sounds. If he missed ‘catching’ or understanding words because of a noisy situation, I tried to removed the commotion. If his confusion came from loud TV or radio, I reduced volume, or turned to a station with calm music, so he could hear and understand what he still could. Sometimes he enjoyed watching the TV but not listening to it and I now believe it was because the actors spoke to fast. ~ Jas, spouse-caregiver 🌷


CONFUSION:


DISORDERS:

BREATHING AID: In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, My Love has anxiety. He now has two attacks daily, increasing slowly over four years, as part of his sundowning period. I found if, when he has his attacks, I can distract him, or increase his oxygen intake, sometimes we can avoid taking his little green pill. We have an Aerobika, a Canadian vibrational breathing device used for his COPD. I found if he would breathe with that device, not for the vibration, but for the deep breathing to get more oxygen, sometimes it helped get us beyond the attack. Deep breathing without the device would probably work: in though the nose, out through the mouth. ~Jas, spouse-caregiver🌷


EATING/DRINKING:

GRASPING: To prevent drinking vessel (plastic or glass, or a paper cup) from slipping out of our loved one’s hand, use rubber bands saved from fresh vegetables to slip around the outside of the glass to make it ‘not-slip’ side. ~ AARP suggestion🥛


EDUCATION:


EMERGENCIES:

EMERGENCY GRAB ‘n’ GO: In an emergency we don’t have time to stop and think what we will need to take with us when we have to evacuate our home or apartment. At the bottom of the blog post “What if” Emergency (July 22, 2020)  there is a list of items to consider for a Grab ‘n’ Go bag to have ready in case of emergency. What you put in it depends on the needs of your loved one and you. Consider the variety of possible items and purchase your bag accordingly. You will have to carry it or roll it. Consider weight. I keep ours near our door so if the situation arises when we have to leave I can focus on my loved one, knowing what is needed is in the bag I will take when we leave….to go hospital by car or ambulance, to go outside in case of fire, to follow the firemen wherever they lead us. I made a note in my phone calendar to update it every three months…you may need more often. ~Jas – spouse-caregiver🌷


FIRE ALARM: In later stage of Alzheimer’s disease the word “fire” might mean nothing. The fire alarm itself is just a very loud, annoying noise. The urgency caregivers feel in an emergency might generate anxiety, agitation or even aggression in a loved one. Caregivers need to remember to remain as calm as possible with a focus on moving the loved one and yourself to a safe situation. You might have a plan in place with a neighbour or building manager, depending on where you live. It is a big responsibility, which can come with considerable effort, to get yourself and your loved one to a safe place in an emergency. If you have a plan ahead of time, your anxiety will not be transferred to your loved one and moving forward will be faced with less resistance. How to evacuate? Where to go? How to get there? An emergency plan created ahead of time will relieve stressful moments. ~Jas-caregiver🌷


PERSONAL INFORMATION: Beside the front door we have a list posted that has the name, phone numbers, addresses of family members, as well as doctor phone numbers and MedicAlert ID numbers for each of us in the house. This is for paramedics or others who might need the information if one of us is unable to give that information.

In addition, we keep the complete medical history of each person in a medicine vial in the freezer. “The Vial of Life program stores vital health information including physician and pharmacist contacts, allergies and other medical information in a vial in the refrigerator. A fridge magnet alerts emergency services that the client is part of the Vial of Life program.” We also have a bright orange sticker on our front door. Pick up a vial from a pharmacy. ~ L. Conklin, family caregiver 🌿


EMOTIONS:

FEELINGS: We know caregivers must take care of themselves in health, nutrition, exercise, and social aspects because they need these areas fully charged. Without them, caregivers have a difficult time caring for any other—like ‘pouring from an empty glass.’

For the same reason, caregivers should reach for happiness, a sense of well-being, with a goal to be genuinely “happy, because they cannot give something that they do not feel.~ Well-being from Abraham-Hicks ⭐


FAMILY:

INTRODUCING A LOVED ONE: Families can help those who come to visit their loved one by having conversation prompts available. Visitors, medical staff, and service workers, especially those there for the first time, can talk about topics the loved one recognizes if they know what might be of interest. Have books of favourite topics, photographs of family or activity participation visible nearby. Or, gather photos of books and activities that reflect those interests and put them in a framed collage. Photos are good reference for the loved one and for visitors to see together. For the wall, create a fairly large word cloud, (see wordart.com) frame it and hang it where all can see it. The words you choose to put on it will encourage visitor communication and enhance the visit. ~ from a session at the Alzheimer Society Halton 🌸


FINANCES:


GROOMING:

FEELING GOOD: Caregivers know they have to feel good to do a good job. They know ‘how good it feels to feel good.‘ 🥰 Likewise, a loved one likes to feel good. In addition to the daily grooming listed below, include fresh, washable clothing: bright coloured smocks, clean socks and underwear daily. Grooming refreshers can make all the difference in the lives of loved ones. Caregivers see Self-care.


SHAVING: I had to learn to shave a man’s face. I do it every other day now, but I never had done it before. Luckily, My Love was able to tell me how to do it. I found I could use an electric razor best, but he still used his blade when I was finished…until he could no longer do it. I am glad he was able to teach me before he no longer could. ~ Jas, spouse-caregiver🌷


FINGERNAILS – MEN: I noticed my loved one’s fingernails were longer than normal. I asked if he needed clippers and he told me he couldn’t clip them any more. I had to learn to do it! I read online that clipping them wet was not good, that dry was better so they did not tear or bend. I found his nails so thick that I had to file them a bit at first since I was afraid they’d crack if I clipped them.I started clipping them little at a time from one side to the other. When I was finished I again filed them a little to be sure they were not jagged. Then I put a little nail oil on them so they’d not be too dry. If you visit a manicurist, ask for their suggestions. ~Jas – caregiver 🌷


SHOWERING: My loved one used to take a shower every day, and then the days between increased. Now I have to suggest a shower and even help him washing with soap and cloth and rinsing. We have a shower chair but he refuses to use it and prefers to stand. I wash and rinse his hair with the shower head because he never got it all wet. I put the towel near his exit point, where there are grab bars to hold on to so he does not use the towel bars. He prefers still to dry himself off.

The beautician suggested using clarifying shampoo to help with the oily areas that accumulate. A PSW mentioned the 3 in 1 body wash/shampoo/conditioner. I have tried both. We mostly use a bar of soap and washcloth and shampoo separately. He cannot use the body wash because it is in a bottle, which means another step in the process. He still can rub the bar of soap over his body and legs. At first he was shy about my being there. We work it out. Nearly two years ago we tried having someone come in to help with his shower. He would have none of it and so I had to learn to help him. He does not like water in his eyes, so I am careful about that. And now that he has a very hard time with words, it is a good thing we have a routine established. ~ Jas, caregiver 🌷


HEARING:

HEAD SET vs EAR BUDS: Instead of using the more popular ear buds, use head sets for those who want to listen to music. Hearing aids and anxiety about something in their ears might be overcome by head set over the ears, plus the sound is healthier. ~Burt A., carer, Peterborough 🍀


NOISES: My wife recently had to get hearing aids. I find she becomes anxious, annoyed and withdrawn, or turns them off, if she is in a group of noisy or loud people. She is better and her anxiety goes down when I move her away from sounds that bother her. ~Burt A., carer, Peterborough 🍀


HYDRATION:

HYDRATION:  On hot days, it may be difficult to keep your loved one hydrated.  Tip – have a drink with them.  Keep the glass/container small.  They will finish the drink if container is not large.  Keep the liquid coloured.  Not water which they might not see. Maybe juice or milk or chocolate milk.  Offer popsicles, jello, soups (even cold soup), ice cream.  Hope this helps. ~ Eileen, caregiver 🌹


INCONTINENCE:

BE READY: Changes in bodily functions can come quickly. With Alzheimer’s, it is almost a certainty that incontinence, a loss of bladder or bowel control, is going to happen – it is just a matter of time. To eliminate panic, have supplies ready. Caregivers have suggested waterproof bed pads (large ones), waterproof mattress covers, extra underwear, incontinence products – pads and underwear- gender specific. It was also suggested to have a separate set of clothing handy for accidents away from home.
(see Grab’n’Go bag -opens on a separate page-you can come back here!)

Keeping supplies at hand, at home and a set in the car, will reduce the panic, anxiety and humiliation when the time comes. We started using the bed pads before there was a need, just to get familiar with the idea, saying, “neither of us know when we might need these!”

To establish as my habits, I do not offer liquids to him after dinner and I insist that each night before bedtime he go to the bathroom, even if he tells me he “can’t.” When incidents occur, I just say, “accidents happen,” without embarrassing him. Even if it is just the two of us, I still respect his sense of privacy, even while I help him make changes. ~ Dorothy M., spouse-caregiver, Alberta 🍓


LEGAL:


MEDICATIONS:

MEDICINE: When new behaviours appeared, I would ask my wife’s doctor what to do. Many of her friends suggested medications but I wanted to be sure her doctor explained to us why the particular medication was selected. Friends meant well, but were not doctors. I let her doctor suggest and prescribe the treatment for new behaviours ~ Steve, caregiver


TAKING MEDICINE: I found that if I put my l wife’s pills in a small plastic dry medicine cup, she could ‘drink them’ into her mouth rather than pick them up from my hand, or from a dish. Sometimes she used to drop them rather than get them to her mouth. I generally put two or three pills at a time into the cup so she does not choke on them. Then I give her water to swallow with the pills. Some friends have told me they use a small juice glass for the pills. ~ V. Thomas, caregiver for wife 🍃


PICKING UP PILLS: I have watched loved ones with big fingers try to take little pills from a dish, from a bottle or from a dispenser where the pills are placed into their hand. To be sure I can see the pills, I put the pills on a tissue on a table, where those in my care who were able to be ‘in charge of their pills’ could pick up pills one at a time, while I could still observe. The tissue prevents the pills from ‘sliding away,’ unaccounted for. Equally convenient is a small paper plate. If I need to move it, I just pick it up without losing any pills in the movement. Some loved ones can easily ‘drink’ pills from a small medicine cup. Each person is different. Most times, these routines have been accepted without resistance. ~ J.P., PSW 🦅


MEMORY:


MEDITATION:


MOBILITY:


ORGANIZATION:

EXIT LIST: The other day we had been gone from the house a few minutes when my hubby, who has Alzheimer’s, realized he had forgotten his teeth. That prompted me to place a list beside the door indicating things to review before we left home. Teeth went on top! Water bottle, keys, wallet, glasses, hearing aids, medications, incontinence aids, tissues, phone, notebook/pen. Check shoes are not slippers, that stove, water, lights, TV, radio, are turned off and other exit doors are closed and locked. Windows closed, drapes pulled. I now rewrite the list occasionally so it looks different and I won’t ignore it. ~R.E., caretaker 🌺


PROFESSIONAL CARE:

DOCTORS: At first my wife’s GP ordered the testing for Alzheimer’s. She sent my wife to various other specialists to confirm findings. When my wife was confirmed, her GP referred her to a Geriatric specialist who was knowledgeable in senior behaviours and diseases as well as the dementia diseases. He remained my wife’s secondary doctor, and the two doctors kept each other informed from then on. ~ Steve, caregiver ☘


SAFETY:

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY RECOMMENDATIONS: At a certain point we were advised to have an OT come into our home and make an evaluation for changes that would make it a safer place for seniors, and especially for one with Alzheimer’s, to live easier, day-to-day. There are many suggestions that can be made and each home is different. In our home, we were asked to get heavy grab bars installed in the shower, to keep the tub mat in the tub and to have a shower chair and to get an elevated toilet seat with handles. We were asked to put a grab handle on the tub as well. All throw rugs had to go because of slip risk. A railing on the edge of the bed was added to prevent falling out of bed and for grabbing when moving in the bed. We put the bells on the outer door as an alert that someone was opening it, with the mention that there might need to be an additional lock at some point. Not all things suggested apply to everyone. It is good for each home to have an assessment every so often because situations and requirements change. ~Doctor recommendation and Occupational Therapist conclusions. 🍄


SELF-CARE:

MINDSET: During a writing session in an online class, this phrase of wisdom appeared at the bottom of the page where I was writing.

What we choose to empower first thing when we wake up sets the pace for our entire day to follow. – Hope Koppelman

As I reflected over my years of caregiving, it struck a note. It sounded much like “From the get-go, start as you intend to go on” that I had heard in my pre-retirement days. On those days when I started out with intention, I followed through that day, focused, without having to keep reminding myself of my tasks. Even since then, I’ve always felt better on the days I start the day connected to what I love, recognizing where it fits into the day’s agenda. ~ Jas, caregiver 🌷


SERENITY PRAYER: The challenge we face as caregivers is well expressed in the following Serenity Prayer. This is self-care :
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and (the) wisdom to know the difference.
~ Words modified from the original, attributed to American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr 🌞


CAREGIVERS TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES: . . . means they will be healthier and, therefore, can provide better care to their loved one.

NEVER ASSUME another caregiver is going through what you are experiencing, or that you experience what they do. We have no idea what others are experiencing in their personal lives. Their life will be different.

Sometimes you get so busy taking care of others that you forget that you are important, too! Take care of yourself, of your needs, of your loved one and of your life in a way that words for you.

  • Take a break, have your luxuries, spend time with friends, arrange to go shopping, make time for your own passions, all without feeling inadequate or guilty. It is necessary that caregivers feel refreshed to remain a healthy, rested provider for their loved one.
  • Eat well, focus on nutritional content. Exercise, sleep well, and see a personal health provider regularly. If these areas are threatened by caregiving, or caregiving is threatened by failures in any of these areas, respond as if there is a red flag— get help immediately.
  • List the tasks that are done on a daily basis to be able to recognize and acknowledge the important issues. Rank them. This way the most important ones get attention. Ask for help with those things that push caregiving beyond the boundaries for each day and task.
  • Schedule relief time, when someone will spend time with the loved one while the caregiver takes a break, either out of the home or in the home.
  • Have someone lined up, or a service that provides carers handy who understands your loved one so when your stress, exhaustion or illness arise, someone can come in for a longer period than a few hours. Physicians, family members, PSWs, Alzheimer Society counselling services , overnight services all can contribute ideas to solve the particular issue you have.
  • Emotions are our ‘guidance system.‘The whole spectrum of emotions will appear at some point throughout the journey. Let emotions be a guide to the intensity of stress that may be keeping you from being your best or doing your best. Pay attention to how you feel and respond in the best way possible at the time.
  • Read Caregiver Care here on this site and find other appropriate articles online related to your needs. BUT DO IT. Having ideas researched and solutions ready will begin to reduce stress before it begins. ~Various people contributed these comments through discussions over time. 🌞
  • Read Maybe I Could Have… by Andrea René Williams, clear reflections on ideas she wished she’d done better, on ways she wished she’d been better prepared.

SLEEPING:

SLEEP PATTERN CHANGE: I hate doing dishes at 10:30 at night when I would prefer to be going to bed. But lately My Love, in later stages of Alzheimer’s, is changing his sleeping patterns. Much like a baby, he is getting his wake-up and go-to-bed times mixed up and his sleep time is shifting forward by 2-3 hours. I keep attempting to wake him every 15-20 minutes. My day now is longer as a result. This cannot last for long or I will become overly tired myself.

I came up with a solution I hope works. I prepare my breakfast at 8. Prepare his breakfast at 11:00, just after he wakes up. Or we might have a late lunch that becomes our breakfast or dinner depending how the morning went. At 2:30, we have something taken from freezer, not made in morning! We will eat again at 5:30-6:00. Pans and dishes washed up in afternoon. I have no dishwasher. Crock pots of soups made on the weekends have become mainstay and will sustain us through this period while we have big meal midday. This meal shift seems to work without encroaching on his pre-bedtime period, nor mine. ~ Jas, spouse-caregiver🌷


STRESS RELIEF:


SUNDOWNING:


SUPPORT:

SUPPORT GROUP MEETING PLACE: There are many places a support group can meet. But COVID-19 has solved the problem of not being able to get together by generating ZOOM support group gatherings. This is also helpful for caregivers who cannot leave their loved one alone, but could benefit from the support such a group provides. Support groups generally have an atmosphere where one can express feelings in a supportive environment and discuss the issues you are encountering. Connections between caregivers are still made through this conferencing method. Ask you Alzheimer Society office or other caregivers if they know of Zoom Support Groups you can join. ~ Jas, caregiver-author 🌷


SUPPORT SOURCES: When you need help, readiness becomes important. It is unlikely that one group will be able to supply all the vital assistance. Focus on group specialties so you will be ready when you need help. ~Peter.T., caregiver for wife and father of a caregiver 🍂


SUPPORTIVE FRIENDSHIP: A friend of mine told me about a mutual friend who is a caregiver for his wife. She suggested I call him just to let him know he could talk to me anytime. His response certainly surprised me. He asked me to lunch! (before this virus thing!) and we sat and talked about his wife for over two hours. I had no idea what he was going through. He didn’t realize I had been through this a few years earlier. I wanted to suggest to people to talk to friends. Be a friend someone can turn to. You may only have to listen but that connection and friendship means a lot. ~Barbara, former caregiver, northern Ontario 🍁


TENDENCY TO FALL:

PREPARATION: Do not wait to fall to realize that aging seniors become more prone to falling. Falls can happen for all sorts of reasons from medication side effects and physical abilities, to lack of balance, eye health and environment. Find a Falls Prevention class to prepare you to, at least, be aware so you can reduce the chance of falling. Ask your health provider or look online to locate a class near you. Lifemark Wellness, for example, has free classes online in Canada during COVID-19. ~Jas, spouse caregiver 🌷


VISION:

NIGHT VISION: For those who get up in the night, it might help to put glow tape on furniture edges so the loved ones do not bump into corners of dressers, bed frames, tables, corners of walls, etc. Glow tape comes in rolls and can outline doors, indication directions with arrows, outline furniture edges, indicate where the person should be looking, guiding them to or from their destination, typically the bathroom. In the bathroom, the switch can be outlined and door handle identified by glow tape. (also mentioned under ‘wandering‘) It acts as a reference point so loved ones sense ‘place’ in the dark. It does not work at all in light and not well if lights are on. A night light glow may not interfere if at a distance. You will need to test. ~ Jas, spouse-caregiver 🌷


WANDERING:

NIGHTTIME DISORIENTATION for TOILETING: In the darkness of night when I am sleeping, my loved one unsuccessfully tries to navigate to the washroom, in a sleepy or disoriented state. To try and correct this it has been suggested that I use nightlights that show the path and perhaps strip lighting or night glow tape around the door, making it a focal point. Additionally, it was suggested a bed alarm on the mattress would alert me when he gets up. To keep him from going in ‘the wrong direction’ I can put safe, soft barriers, to redirect him. If the situation becomes more serious I can consider a portable toilet beside the bed. They suggested, because there are no tried and true methods for every person, that we invite an OT Therapist and LHIN (Ontario) coordinator to evaluate and make other suggestions. ~Alzheimer Society counselling 🌸


OTHER:

WRITE IT DOWN: Find one small notebook where you can keep dated notes about the one you are caring for – you can record behaviours, changes, questions, or suggestions for doctors you may see, where your information will be in one place.

  • smart phone is good for notes
  • pencil and paper, a journal might be best
  • computer notes work if you have laptop or tablet with you, or most recent notes printed out.

Record what is important, or record daily for comparison purposes. Make notes during doctor visits. But most of all, it relieves you of having to ‘remember everything.’ That is self-care! ~Allie K, family member, Ontario 🌱


NEED ANOTHER CATEGORY? If you find another category where your comment would fit better, send me an email along with your comment and we will add the category. I truly hope that caregivers find this helpful. I can see, as it grows, each topic having a page of its own. For now, we take baby steps to grow.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING CAREGIVERS.

~jas


A REMINDER before you go, these stories are copyrighted with all rights reserved. If you choose to copy any words from this site, for education purposes, for your school project, for sharing with other caregivers, for inclusion in a speech, please, please honor the rights of authors, as you wish to be honored and include the author’s name, mine or the guest, the article name and the date, the name and link of this blog. THANK YOU.

“Caregiver Tips” (c) 2020 Judith Allen Shone and contributors


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READ:

Caregiver tips are essential to the toolbox of every caregiver. Find more stories like those found in this blog, more coping mechanisms, and strategies experienced by Judith Allen Shone in her Accepting the Gift of Caregiving book series, “Is There Any Ice Cream?” and “Did You Hide the Cookies?”


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