Caring for a loved one can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
However, at Care UK we understand it can be a balancing act to meet someone else’s needs while not neglecting your own and the need to take things one step at a time.Read on for top tips on how to care for a loved one at home:
1. Dining with dignity
When caring for an older person, it is important to look at mealtimes differently to ensure your loved one feels supported while maintaining their independence.
Involving them in mealtimes is a great way to do this: ask them to help you lay the table so items are familiar and accessible to your loved one. Or why not try a bread maker to make fresh bread? The smell will make everyone feel hungry and signal that food is coming.
2. Make each day different
When a loved one becomes less mobile or less lucid, getting out of the house can seem too difficult, but studies have shown that keeping active can slow the progression of dementia.
Where you can, try to have a change of scene and enjoy some fresh air to help to break up the day for you and the person you’re caring for.
3. Old habits die hard
Many people will have been proud home-makers throughout their lives, and helping them to continue this if they choose helps encourage independence.
Encourage your loved one to participate in household chores including tidying up after dinner and hanging out the washing - the scent of sheets that have been billowing on the line can be very nostalgic too.
4. Routines and rituals
When carers start to support loved ones, it can be easy to align them with your own routines and timings. However, it is important to understand what makes your loved one feel most comfortable and at ease.
This could be anything from factoring in the soaps they watch on television, to how they set their food our on their plate. It is all about adapting to the scenario and ensuring it is an enjoyable process for everyone.
5. Sleep easy
It is important to consider your loved ones’ environment, particularly if they have recently moved in with you, or moved to a more accessible room in their own home.
Look round the room and think about whether they are conducive to a restful night, for example, using black-out curtains or blinds. Is there an annoying ticking clock nearby, or does the room tend to get too hot or cold? Taking some simple steps to make the right sleeping environment can help both you and your loved one get the rest you need.
6. Memory Lane
For people living with dementia in particular, memories from times gone by can be easier to access and talk about, with different pictures and objects sparking memories and conversations.
Listen to some of your loved one’s favourite music, create a photo scrapbook, or have a film afternoon watching some black and white classics.