Your aging in place elderly mother has a chronic medical condition that keeps her confined to bed for days at a time. As mom’s eldest adult child, you’ve been trying to provide her with the nurturing care she needs whenever those “bad days” roll around. When a senior becomes bed-bound, it can be confusing for a family caregiver to know exactly which types of care are the most important. To help ensure that your mom enjoys a higher quality of life whenever she’s bed-bound, use these caregiving tips from the pros.
Compile a Caregiving Checklist
The first step is compiling a checklist containing activities of daily living that your loved one will need. That list might include:
- Personal hygiene
- Changing clothes and linens
- Medication management
Collecting all this information ahead of time will allow you to then prioritize the most important caregiving tasks based on your availability.
Which Tasks Should I Prioritize?
Many family caregivers also have jobs and households to manage. If that’s your case, it’s important to accept the fact you’re only human. That means that when caring for a bed-bound loved one these caregiving areas should get priority:
Nutrition and Hydration
Keeping their body supplied with essential nutrients and liquids is notably important for a bed-bound senior. Come up with a nutrition plan for your loved one by working with a licensed dietician. If your senior has a swallowing impairment, serve them nutritious smoothies, softer foods and soups. And, keep plenty of water on their nightstand at-all-times.
Bed Sore Prevention
One of the most common problems for someone who’s bed-bound is developing bed sores. Help prevent those by encouraging your senior to reposition their body every few hours. If they can’t do so on their own, you will need to help reposition them frequently. Other bed-sore prevention tips include:
- Keeping their skin clean and dry, especially when wearing adult briefs
- Massaging their back and shoulder areas to promote blood flow
- Monitoring your loved one’s ankles, hips, tailbone and heels for signs of skin breakdown
- Placing pillows between body areas that normally touch, like ankles and knees
When caring for a larger individual, consider using a patient lift to aid in repositioning, and for more safely getting them in and out of bed.
Whenever your senior is confined to bed it may be necessary to take care of all their personal hygiene needs. Focusing on their physical appearance will also do wonders for their emotional health, so make sure that you’re helping them daily with bathing, hair brushing, toileting and dental hygiene. If your loved one is incontinent, find them some comfortable adult briefs and change them often throughout the day.
Take a few minutes during every visit to reassuringly talk to your loved one. Find ways to keep them entertained when you’re not there, like an IPad, books, magazines or their favorite music. Pull out some old photos and reminisce together over a cup of tea. This much-needed emotional support might also help them get back on their feet more quickly!
Take Care of Yourself