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Caregiving for the Elderly and Others In Need

Many Americans today are in need of extra care during their everyday life. This caregiving is often done in the context of the client’s residence, since a hospital of course has staff on hand and so will a senior center. Meanwhile, such clients such as the elderly, a dementia patient, or someone who just got out of the hospital after intensive surgery and care may need some 24 hour care. This care can be provided both by medical assistants and by the client’s friends and family, whoever is willing and able to provide 24 hour care. This care may encompass all sorts of activities, ranging from running errands to meal planning and meal preparation to caring for the client’s pets or home garden. Hourly care is also possible, along with getting regular medications at home. Caregivers who are running errand are doing a big favor for someone in need. Running errands may include picking up prescription drugs, for example, or grocery shopping or taking care or business at the bank on the client’s behalf.

Caring For Someone Fresh out of the Hospital

This level of care may be necessary for a client who just got out of the hospital after intensive surgery, and such a client may have trouble with their motor skills such as household chores, climbing stairs, or even getting into a bath tub. These patients may have had surgery on their spine, arms, or legs that limits their mobility, or they may have experienced an amputation. In other cases, the client is exhausted and cannot easily muster the energy for house work. For such instances as these and more, the patient needs care from others.

Most often, the house will be prepared ahead of time before the client even gets there. For example, care givers may relocate furniture and items from a second or third floor bedroom down into a room on the first floor, so that the patient does not have to climb up and down stairs for sleep and personal care. A bathroom on the ground floor may also be set up with all of the patient’s needed items, from toiletry items to cosmetics to prescription drug bottles or tubes of cream. This, too, helps a client avoid the need for navigating stairs. Exhaustion or limited mobility may make stairs quite a challenge. And on top of that, the caregivers may prepare meals ahead of time and store them in the fridge and freezer in containers, so that the client can conveniently get a ready-made meal, heat it up, and eat. Running errands may include getting groceries for meal prep, and running errands may also involve going to places of business on the client’s behalf such as a bank. This may help if the client doesn’t have the energy to drive themselves to such places or even the energy to be a passenger in the car and visit these places on their own.

Dementia Care

Another major field of home caregiving is for dementia patients, typically those with Alzheimer’s disease. Primarily affecting the elderly, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease presenting as increasing memory loss and physical clumsiness. Once this disease sets in, it cannot be cured or stopped, but methods exist to minimize its impact on a patient’s life. If a patient is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, they may be able to remain in their own residence with the assistance of care givers.

Alzheimer’s care means reducing the impact of memory loss and clumsiness. Tripping hazards such as loose rugs and power cords will be moved out of the way, and sharp and flame-producing items will be locked away. Furniture and other items will be arranged in a consistent and convenient pattern, and daily care may include running errand for the client, caring for pets or the garden, house cleaning or maintenance, and simple companionship. Studies have shown that a strong social life will mentally engage an Alzheimer’s patient and help slow down the condition’s progress, and the same is true for mental exercises such as completing jigsaw puzzles. If the client goes outside for walks or local errands alone, they should carry a photo ID name tag with their address and the caregivers’ contact information.

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