If you’re providing care for a senior relative, it is likely that you fell into the responsibility without having formal training: you saw the need, and gallantly came forward to satisfy it. Yet, at North River Home Care, substantial training is provided to each of our professional in-home caregivers before they’re fully equipped to properly and effectively take care of older adults. In our effort to encourage family caregivers, we’ve outlined several of the crucial skills needed to give the highest possible quality of senior care.
Nutrition: Ensuring necessary nutrition in the elderly is challenging. Medication side effects can cause food to be less appealing. Chewing and swallowing issues may be a factor. And isolation or depression may have an impact on appetite. The reality is, senior malnutrition is now more and more prevalent in older adults, and isn’t as easy as noticing whether or not a senior has lost weight. Consult with the senior’s physician or a dietitian to create a nutrition plan; and, be certain the senior’s fluid intake (particularly plain water) is suitable – a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of fluid daily.
Infection Control: Being in close contact with a senior through providing personal care raises the risk for spreading viral and bacterial infections. The best defense against infection is always keeping hands clean. If using protective gloves, hands should still be washed meticulously with soap and warm water, both before applying and after removing gloves.
Communicating: Communicating with your older loved one may seem second nature, but there are lots of key points to consider that can help the person feel more comfortable and to prevent damaging the person’s self-esteem. Seniors should always be spoken to in a polite manner – never being patronizing or demeaning. Asking open-ended questions, and allowing the senior enough opportunity to answer completely without interrupting, are important communication techniques. And in case the person is affected with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, keep from correcting the person, specifically if the topic being discussed increases emotional responses such as agitation or aggression.
Documenting: Maintaining good records of every change noted in the senior’s condition, and providing details to the healthcare team immediately, is paramount to making sure your loved one has the information needed to handle any potential issues. Note dates, times, and as many specifics as you can – physical changes including increased pain, numbness, swelling, etc., in addition to any alterations in attitude and mood.
Want more advice from our fully trained and highly skilled home care team, or a partner in care to supply hands-on assistance for your senior loved one? We’re here to partner with family caregivers to make sure seniors get the highest possible quality of care all of the time. Contact North River Home Care
at (781) 352-0939 to learn more.