Your elderly father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has been bedridden for several months now. He’s also made it quite clear that he prefers to stay in his home for as long as possible. Now dad’s diminishing health has reached the point he needs care just to perform daily living activities like eating, toileting and bathing. Caring for a bed bound senior is one of the most demanding and time-consuming scenarios a family caregiver can face. But providing your loved one with the care they need is possible when you follow these tips from the pros.
Because dad’s mobility is very poor, his personal hygiene is going to be dependent on you. Keeping up his physical appearance will also provide him with emotional comfort, so there are several aspects of dad’s personal hygiene that you don’t want to overlook. Here are the main daily hygiene needs that should be addressed:
- Brushing his teeth after every meal
- Changing his clothes and bed linens
- Hair washing and combing
If dad is totally confined to bed, he’ll probably have to wear adult diapers that will need to be changed out several times per day. A common risk for non-ambulatory individuals is bedsores, so use these prevention tips:
- If dad can move on his own at all, encourage him to re-position his body into a sitting position.
- Keep his skin clean and dry, especially when wearing adult diapers. If incontinence is a concern, apply a good moisture barrier ointment after each diaper change.
- Place pillows between body areas that normally press up against one another, like knees and ankles.
- Massage or rub his back and shoulders to promote blood circulation.
- Frequently monitor trouble areas for bedsores, like ankles, heels, hips and the tailbone.
Nutrition and Hydration
Speak to dad’s doctor or a dietitian about how to provide him with a well-balanced diet. Serve him smaller meals throughout the day based on his physical capabilities and nutritional needs. For example, if your father has a swallowing impairment you will need to cut up his food into tiny pieces, puree it, or find other ways to supplement his diet like nutrient-rich shakes. Also make sure that dad stays properly hydrated by keeping water on the nightstand and encouraging him to drink it.
This is very important for someone who’s bed bound, so find ways to keep your dad comfortable and entertained. Consider setting him up with a TV and remote, along with his favorite books, magazines and newspapers. If he’s more tech-savvy, an IPad or laptop will keep him busy. Pull out some old photos and spend time reminiscing about cherished memories, like family vacations or other activities from when you were a child. Remember to always let dad know how much he’s loved and appreciated!
Take Care of Yourself
You won’t be much good to an incapacitated loved one if you also don’t take care of yourself. Stay refreshed by exercising, eating right, sleeping enough, not abusing alcohol or drugs and getting an annual physical. A bed bound senior requires continuous care, so consider splitting up the duties in shifts with other family members. Also take a break every month or so, like going on a weekend trip with your spouse or best friend.
No matter how hard you try, dad’s condition is going to get worse. As a result, avoid caregiver remorse by focusing on small victories when they occur, like getting him to eat all his food or up out of bed for a little while. Another way to take a well-deserved break is by hiring a respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency nearby.
Affordable In-Home Respite Care for Bed Bound Seniors
Taking care of a bed bound senior is hard, and caregiver fatigue is possible. When you need a break, rely on a respite caregiver from First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured agency, our highly trained and carefully screened caregivers can provide the nurturing care your loved one deserves while serving as an extended family in their home. If your senior needs constant monitoring to keep them safe and comfortable, we also offer 24-hour services that’ll restore your peace-of-mind.
While in the home, our caregivers can perform duties like light housework, personal hygiene, companionship, medication reminders, meals and transportation. And, all our family trusted services can be individually tailored in an affordable package when and where you need them. For more information about First In Care, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for a senior in Manatee County, FL, please visit: www.firstincare.com now!