Quite often we learn of some exciting tools used at an extended care facility which could easily be used at home in caring for our family.
In years past, the thoughts of a person in a “nursing home” rendered pictures of an elderly person sitting alone in a darkened room waiting for someone to take them to supper. The hallways, cafeteria, and many of the rooms had little to offer to make one feel at home. Even the staff seemed, for the most part, to be too busy or preoccupied to tend to individual needs.
Thankfully, in most cases, this is not true today. Modern facilities are designed to meet the felt needs of each resident. One trend is to make caregiving more individual by personalized care planning. Here are a few of the suggestions; consider which of these you could incorporate into at-home care.
- Learn her favorite colors. If she is happiest in her green blouse, find other items in that color she could wear. Or find a warm wrap in green.
- For a man, find out what aftershave he used to use. Perhaps he misses that familiar fragrance. How simple to use a little aftershave to give him a pleasant memory.
- Room temperature. Set the temperature in the patient’s room for them, not according to how you feel. Be sensitive to their need of a wrap or fan.
- If she says she doesn’t need help transferring, and the chart says differently, discuss the matter. Perhaps she decides she can transfer by herself, falls, and then forgets what caused the fall. You cannot totally rely on the patient’s response.
- Does the patient like pets? Many facilities now have resident cats or dogs. These animals provide warmth and a sense of home to the residents.
- What are their favorite foods? If you are serving cottage cheese, for instance, would it be enjoyed more with a little fruit? Would the bread be easier for them to handle if it were toasted?
- Learn their favorite television shows. Make note of the time it comes on and help them look forward to that time each
If you are called upon to find long-term care for a loved one, ask about the personal care they provide for their residents. Walk through the home; does it feel warm and pleasant? Do the residents seem content?
If you are caring for someone at home, I hope these few ideas will help you consider your own situation. Are there simple steps you can take today to make life more comfortable and rewarding for others?
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