Last time, we identified the top three reasons why being in a hospital or rehab is challenging for an older adult and why it makes the cost of care so expensive. The three reasons are;
The first thing to do is to put an advocate at the bedside. Any adult can serve as an advocate and you can hire an advocate. Some people use a sitter but you would want to have the sitter serve as an advocate. An advocate is someone who looks out for the best interest of another person. What are some of the things that the sitter/advocate can do to help your loved one get better?
Think of those top three reasons why being in the hospital is challenging.
For inactivity, have your advocate/sitter check in with the nurse to be sure that your loved one gets out of the bed, sit up in the chair or even walk around the room if the doctor's orders do not say "bed rest." Walking will reduce anxiety and prevent deconditioning.
For dehydration, have the sitter/advocate offer small sips of water every half to one hour after checking with the nurse to be sure that there are no fluid or eating restrictions.
Lastly, the reason that your loved one went to the hospital in the first place. Have the sitter/advocate ready with a notebook and two colored ink pens. One color to write down how the day went, who came into the room, what was done and when who asked questions and answered questions. The other color ink would be to write down what the doctor or nurse says when they come into the room. Looking at the notes from the sitter/advocate, you can tell if your loved one is getting better.
Thank you for being a loyal reader. The last time, we discussed Sundowners Syndrome. One of the five things you could do to help your loved one who suffers from Sundowners Syndrome is to care for yourself. Today, we are discussing strategies for caring for yourself, so that your care recipient can THRIVE.
What are some strategies for self-care?
It may take some time to find the best way to care for yourself as you care for someone experiencing Sundowners. Here are a few strategies worth considering.
First, STAY CALM & MASTER YOUR EMOTIONS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Sundowners cause fear and anxiety. Do not argue with your loved one. Listen to their concerns and validate their feelings, all the while reassuring that they are is safe. Feeling heard will comfort and calm your loved one. They will lean on you for comfort and reassurance. Also, emotions are attractors, so anxiety in you will trigger anxiety in your loved one. When your loved one thrives, your role as the caregiver becomes more gratifying than stressful.
Second, develop a LONG TERM CARE PLAN FOR YOUR LOVED ONE. Most of the stress associated with family caregiving comes from the lack of a caregiving plan. If you would like a copy of our free e-book on how to design a personalized long-term care plan for your loved one, contact Comfort Makers at 503-369-2460.
Third, MAKE RESPITE CARE A PRIORITY. Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days or weeks. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility, or at an adult day center. Caregiving can be taxing, both emotionally and physically. Respite care is a beautiful part of self-care. Respite care is an investment in the health of your loved one too.
Finding someone your loved one feels comfortable with, other than yourself, so you can take breaks, take naps during the day, spend time with friends and keep up on your own hobbies is part of your respite plan. Also, Comfort Makers provides respite care services.
When care is needed, there is a caregiver in need. It is my hope that when it is your turn to care, I can always be there for you and your loved one.