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Top Things You Should Know as a Family Caregiver

St. Joseph MI senior care
Learn the skills you need to provide better care for your senior loved one.

If you’re providing care for a senior loved one, it’s probable that you stumbled into the responsibility with virtually no formal training: you saw the requirement, and gallantly stepped forward to fulfill it. Yet, at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, thorough training is provided to each of our professional in-home caregivers before they’re fully equipped to properly and effectively care for seniors. Through our St. Joseph MI senior care team’s efforts to empower family caregivers, we’ve detailed some of the crucial skills necessary to give the best possible senior care.

Nutrition: Ensuring ample nutrition in the elderly tends to be complicated. Medication side effects could potentially cause food to be less appealing. Chewing and swallowing issues might be a factor. And isolation or depression may have a significant impact on appetite. As a matter of fact, senior malnourishment has become progressively more common in older adults and isn’t as simple as noting whether a senior has lost weight. Get in touch with the senior’s physician or a dietitian to set up a nutrition plan; and, be sure the senior’s fluid intake (particularly plain water) is adequate – a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of fluid each day.

Infection Control: Being in close contact with an individual through providing personal care escalates the risk for spreading viral and bacterial infections. The best and most practical defense against infection is trying to keep hands clean. Even if using protective gloves, hands should still be washed meticulously with soap and hot water, both before applying and after removing gloves.

Communicating: Talking with your senior family member may seem second nature, but there are many key points to consider that can help the person feel more secure and to avoid damaging his / her self-esteem. Older adults should be spoken to in a polite manner – never being patronizing or demeaning. Asking open-ended questions and allowing the senior adequate time to answer thoroughly without interrupting are also important communication recommendations. And in case the person suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, refrain from correcting the individual, specifically if the topic being discussed raises emotional responses like agitation or aggression.

Documenting: Retaining good records of any changes noted in the senior’s condition, and providing specifics to the medical team as soon as possible, is paramount to making sure your loved one has all the information necessary to tackle any possible concerns. Note dates, times, and as many specifics as you can – physical changes like increased pain, numbness, swelling, etc., along with any alterations in behavior and mood.

Want more tips from our professionally trained and highly skilled St. Joseph MI senior care team, or a partner in care to provide hands-on help and support for your senior family member? We’re available to partner with family caregivers to make certain seniors receive the highest possible quality of care all the time. And we encourage our clients to take advantage of our Family Learning Center where you’ll find helpful tips and resources that all family caregivers can use. Call Home Sweet Home In-Home Care at 269-849-9252 in St. Joseph to learn more.

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