Preparing the Home for Caregiving

The time has come. Your elderly loved one is ready to go home from the hospital. Or maybe there was no hospitalization, but he or she is getting more and more unstable when walking, and having trouble seeing at night.

After all, things change, and usually they change slowly, unless something happens to speed up the process, like a stroke or a heart attack.

Whatever the reasons for your safety concerns, there are easy things you can do to make your home, or their home (or both) safer and easier to manage. 

Essential Equipment for Caregiving at Home 

If caregiving is new to you, whether you are caring in your own home or in the home of the care recipient, you will probably need to get some equipment to make things safer for the person cared for and easier for you.

Toileting

One of the things new caregivers and care recipients often have to contend with is using the bathroom. There are various reasons for this. Some people need help to go to the bathroom, and for some, the issue is safety.

A commode chair can often help in both those situations.

If the person you care for is now disabled and needs your help to get to the bathroom and transfer onto the toilet, there are two (probably more) ways a commode chair can help.

First of all, if you place it by the bed at night, it eliminates going all the way to the bathroom and back when you would rather be sleeping. You can get bags to place in the commode bucket to gel the liquid and deal with odor, so YOU don’t have to deal with the contents of the commode until later.

The other way it can help is that the back can easily be removed, and the bucket removed, and it can be placed over the toilet during the day. That makes the seat a little higher, and it provides rails for the person to hold onto to help them on and off and give a feeling of security.

For the person who is mobile, but not safe walking around at night, a commode chair can be placed by their bed as well, so they don’t really have to go anywhere to use the bathroom. During the day, placing the commode over the toilet gives them rails to hold onto for safety and help getting up and down. The raised seat is usually helpful too.

The Invacare All-In-One Aluminum Commode works perfectly for the uses I just described.

Showering

Another common problem is getting in and out of the bathtub/shower. For some, it is impossible to step over the side of the tub, and for others, though they can do it, it is dangerous.

For that problem, a Tub Transfer Bench is a good solution.

As you can see in the photo, the Medline Aluminum Frame Tub Transfer Bench is longer than just a shower chair. The reason for that is, that then the person can sit down on the end of the seat and put his/her legs over the side of the tub. That sure beats trying to hang on and balance on one leg and then not slip in the tub!

Once your loved one is in the shower, another piece of essential equipment comes into play: The hand held shower head. After all, it doesn’t do much good to get into the shower if you can’t reach the water!

Getting Good Sleep When You Can

One last item that will help you get needed sleep is an audio monitor.  You know how it is hard to sleep when you are afraid you won’t hear your loved one in another room? This monitor will give you the confidence that you will hear. It even has a vibrate function to get your attention if you are a sound sleeper. A little sound sleep would be nice, right?

Of course there are more pieces of equipment that can be helpful depending on the needs of the person you care for and your needs, but these four are easy to put in place and often are the right things to get off to a good start in home caregiving.

Essential Equipment for Home Caregiving – Audio Monitor – Review

You know how it is hard to go to sleep when you are worried about not hearing the person you care for at night? You really need good, deep sleep to rejuvenate after a long day, and you are exhausted, yet you can’t really get to sleep for fear your loved one will need you and you don’t hear them.

You need an audio monitor! The Secure Coverage Digital Monitor will do the job.

Audio Monitor

Audio Monitor

I know you have heard of them being used for babies, but many people are finding them very useful for adults. Just place it in your loved one’s room and take to speaker with you. Then, they won’t have to yell to get your attention, and you can sleep well, knowing you will hear them.

What is the frequency?

You want confidence that you will hear clearly if your loved one speaks softly, so the Secure Coverage Digital Monitor operates at 900 MHz Frequency so you can hear the softest voice without fear of interference from our phone or wireless network.

Does it use batteries?

Secure Coverage includes a rechargeable battery packs for the parent unit and for the unit that goes in the care recipient’s room. Another handy feature is the recharge alert. If your care recipient’s unit battery is unplugged and gets low, it beeps to let you know to plug it back in.

How far away can I be?

The Secure Coverage has a 2000 foot range, but I must be honest here and say that some of the reviewers said it does not have that much range. If you only use it at night, and your bedrooms are in the same house, it has plenty of range.

But I sleep really soundly.

Lucky for you there is also a vibration mode. If you have it on vibration mode, it buzzes loudly and moves on a hard surface, or you could have it where you are touching it. You don’t have to be afraid to get a good night’s sleep!

Where can I buy the Secure Coverage Digital Monitor?

You can buy the Secure Coverage Digital Monitor at Amazon.

Where can I read more reviews for the Secure Coverage Digital Monitor?

The best place to read reviews from people who actually use this product is Amazon. Click here to read more.

 

Essential Equipment for Home Caregiving- The Commode Chair- Review

One of the things new caregivers and care recipients often have to contend with is using the bathroom. There are various reasons for this. Some people need help to go to the bathroom, and for some, the issue is safety.

Invacare All-In-One Aluminum Commode

Invacare All-In-One Aluminum Commode

A commode chair can often help in both those situations.

If the person you care for is now disabled and needs your help to get to the bathroom and transfer onto the toilet, there are two (probably more) ways a commode chair can help.

First of all, if you place it by the bed at night, it eliminates going all the way to the bathroom and back when you would rather be sleeping. You can get bags to place in the commode bucket to gel the liquid and deal with odor, so YOU don’t have to deal with the contents of the commode until later.

The other way it can help is that the back can easily be removed, and the bucket removed, and it can be placed over the toilet during the day. That makes the seat a little higher, and it provides rails for the person to hold onto to help them on and off and give a feeling of security.

For the person who are mobile, but not safe walking around at night, a commode chair can be placed by their bed as well, so they don’t really have to go anywhere to use the bathroom. During the day, placing the commode over the toilet gives them rails to hold onto for safety and help getting up and down. The raised seat is usually helpful too.

The Medline Deluxe 3 in 1 Commode Chair works perfectly for the uses I just described.

How large is the Medline Deluxe 3 in1 Commode Chair?

The seat width is 14″. This is plenty large enough for people who are within the weight limit of this chair. The Ivacare All-In-One Aluminum Commode will hold up to 350 pounds.  The seat depth is 15.”

The seat height is 15″ to 23.”  It is easily adjustable.

Can I manage it? 

It only weighs 14 pounds! The frame is made of steel. There are rubber tips to keep it from slipping or damaging the floor (and they have holes in them so the legs can drain if water gets in when cleaning).

How much do they cost?

The Medline Deluxe 3 in 1 Commode chair should not cost more than $40. It is not an expensive piece of equipment, and it will save you energy and worry. Get it here from Amazon.

 

Essential Equipment for Home Caregiving – The Tub Transfer Bench

If your bathroom has a tub/shower arrangement, you will need a way to safely get the person you care for into and out of the tub. The Medline Aluminum Frame Tub Transfer Bench will give you that help. It makes the process simple and safe.

Tub Transfer Bench

As you can see in the photo, the Medline Aluminum Frame Tub Transfer Bench is longer than just a shower chair. The reason for that is, that then the person can sit down on the end of the seat and put his/her legs over the side of the tub. That sure beats trying to hang on and balance on one leg and then not slip in the tub!

It is easy to place in the tub as you can see from the next photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

tub transfer benchIs it heavy and will it rust?

The Medline Transfer Bench only weighs about 15 pounds, and it is made out of rust resistant, anodized aluminum. I am a wimp, and I have no trouble managing these devices.

But my bathtub faces the wrong way!

Not to worry! If you look closely at the front of the bench, you will see two slots/round holes. Those are there so you can remove the back and place it on the other side. It can adapt to any bathtub.

Why is the seat height adjustable?

The seat height adjusts easily, in 1.5″ increments, from 16.5″ to 21.5″ so that you can make it fit your tub, and the person you care for. My husband is very tall, with long legs, so he would not like the seat to be low. Other people are the opposite. The Medline Tub Transfer Bench can accomodate everyone!

Will the bench slide around?

The Medline Tub Transfer Bench as suction cups on the legs that go into the tub, and rubber tips on the legs that go on the floor. All of those are to keep the bench from sliding around, so the user will feel safe and secure.

Do I need tools to make adjustments?

No. All the adjustments are tool-free, push button adjustments. You can adjust the back and the arm and the seat height.

Is this bench strong enough to support my loved one?

This bench will support up to 300 pounds. If you need support up to 700 pounds, look here.

How big is it?

The seat size is 17″ wide by 16.5″ deep. The overall width is 29″. It fits tubs that are 11″ to 21.25″ deep.

The Medline Tub Transfer Bench is appropriate for people who need help transferring to the bench, but it is also great for anyone who wants to feel secure getting in and out of the shower, or anyone who can’t stand for a long enough time to shower. Here is a quote from a satisfied customer:

“This little bench is great, and it fits easily into a small bathroom. My mother almost cried when she told me how wonderful this bench was, and how easy it made it for her to take a shower. I would recommend this seat to anyone that has difficulty in lifting their legs, and folks who have problems standing for a long period of time.”

This tub transfer bench is one of the best pieces of equipment you can get to help you prepare for caring for a loved one with impaired mobility. Even people who walk appreciate the safe feeling of using the tub transfer bench, and you, as a caregiver, are relieved of worry about both your loved one and your back.

How much does this cost, and where can I get one?

You should not pay more than $65 for this, and you can get a good price at Amazon, along with their prompt shipping right to your door.

Medline Aluminum Frame Tub Transfer Bench

 

 

Essential Equipment for Home Care

Finally, the day is here. You can bring your dad home from the hospital. He has been anxious to get out of there, and you, even though you are not too sure about this whole caregiving thing, have been anxious with him.

You have done a great job of preparing. There is the commode chair that can also be placed over the toilet to make it higher. There is the tub transfer bench to help him get into the shower. There is the hand held shower. You always wanted one of those anyway. And there is the little monitor to put in his room, so he can call you at night. You can feel confident you have the equipment you need.

The next post will be about the tub transfer bench.

 

Video on Improving Incontinence Right Here!

If you are struggling with bladder incontinence, yours or someone else’s, you should watch this video. It is a class I made for home health nurses, but there is a great deal of information you can get from it to apply to yourself or a loved one. It is here. I think there is a pause at the beginning, so wait for it. It will start up. It is about 25 minutes long.

If you like the video, you might also like the short reports I have on incontinence on the “Solutions for You” page of this website. See the tab at the top? There is one for yourself, and one for caregivers caring for someone with incontinence. They are both less than ten pages, and written in English, not medicalese :-)

Is Incontinence a Problem?

Did you know that the biggest reason the elderly are placed in nursing homes is incontinence? It becomes too much of a burden for the caregivers, so they feel they have no other choice but to institutionalize their loved one.

I think that, if there was a chance to alleviate incontinence, or make it manageable, many more people would be able to stay home.

I have discovered an educational program that uses alternative means to relieve or improve incontinence.

Have a look. It is here.

Baby Boomers Caring for Aging Parents: Fall Prevention

If you are a baby boomer caring for an aging parent, it is important to set up their home (or your home if they live with you) so that falls are prevented. Here are some suggestions. Some of these are especially appropriate for people experiencing dementia.

1. Create a “wander loop” in your home, a safe pathway that allows the patient to safely roam.
2. Use reflector tape to create a path to the bathroom.
3. Cover radiators and electrical outlets with guards.
4. Lock doors that lead to places like basements and garages.
5. Lock cabinets that contain liquor, medications, household chemicals and any other toxic substances that could be swallowed.
6. Get rid of firearms, or store them in a locked cabinet with bullets in a separate locked cabinet.
7. Install safety locks and alarms on exit doors and gates.
8. Cover smooth or shiny surfaces to reduce confusing glare.
9. Eliminate shadows with a lamp that reflects off the ceiling.
10. Cover or remove mirrors if they are upsetting to a person with hallucinations.
11. Store car keys in a locked container; disable the car.
12. Do not allow unattended smoking.
13. Make sure an I.D. bracelet is being worn at all times.
14. When selecting home care, make sure to hire an aide who has been trained to deal with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, and is under the supervision of a skilled home care nurse.
15. Install grab bars near toilets and bathtubs/showers.
16. Use tub transfer chairs that help people get into the bathtub without needing to stand and step over the side.
17. Change batteries in smoke alarms when you set the clocks forward or back. (I am assuming here that there are smoke alarms!)
18. Get rid of throw rugs! They trip elders.
19. Get rid of chairs that have wheels. It is too easy to miss the chair and “sit” on the floor!
20. Install a hand-held shower head.

That’s it for today. That will give you plenty to think about if you are a baby boomer caring for aging parents. These things will be helpful for you too. They will put your mind at ease and reduce your own stress.

We Need Vitamin D-3

I started taking Viamin D because of plain old pain. If you have pain, you will want to read the things I have linked here.

I know some  people want the short version of why and how to use Vitamin D for pain, and some people want all the research and other background information, so I have put two links here.

The first is a patient brochure. Click here to read that.

Then there is this long, detailed report that gives the mechanism and the research behind Vitamin D and pain.  Click here to read that one.

Just remember, you don’t get results overnight. Keep doing what you are currently doing while you start taking Vitamin D. It takes about 3 months to perceive a difference.

I am so convinced of the need for Vitamin D, I made a website just for Vitamin D information. It is HERE. You will find the info I shared here and many other things about Vitamin D on that website.

Boomers Here!

This is a website for people of the Baby Boomer age (and anyone else who stops in). We know who we are, right? We are the ones who are getting older. Some of us have retired. Many of us care for our parents or other older relatives, and some of us still have teenagers at home.

We are pretty busy!

This site is a place to get helpful information about health as we age, and about issues related to caregiving, whether that caregiving is from a distance, in your town, or in your home. Check out the Solutions Pages.

I am a nurse, and I like practical solutions. I don’t want to have to read a whole book just to find out a few simple steps that will solve my problem, so what I offer here is created or discovered with those principles in mind.

I hope you will check back often for PRACTICAL solutions and for conversation that uplifts and encourages.

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