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Power Caregiving

By Mary Z. McGrath, Ph.D.

(Page 4 of 6)

4.   Planning: When you leave after visiting someone in a care facility or hospital,
remind your loved one and the staff who work with them of the next time you will be returning by writing this information on a white board in their room or posting it on a visible note where they are sure to see it regularly. Ask facility assistants to reinforce this information through verbal review. Also tell them of upcoming outings or medical appointments.

When planning your own week, do so strategically by clustering appointments by time and location. Look at the big picture and consider including a social dimension to a medical outing. For example, stop for a treat after a doctor visit to add the balance of lightness and fun to a potentially serious outing.

Plan to prevent or decrease functional challenges by keeping specialized eating utensils and other important self-care items in an easily accessible and predictable spot. Have colored tape or bright colored dots or stars on radios to mark their favorite station. Mark the washer and dryer in a similar manner. Look at placement of rugs and install railings and grab bars in strategic spots. Add bright colored tape to facilitate easier visual focus on spots to place hands to make it easier to get in and out of the car.

Ultimately, it is a matter of figuring out what needs to be adjusted in the home, automobile or in their facility space so that they can function most independently and easily. Then, with proper planning and implementation, the loved one’s day will go more smoothly.

5.   Flexibility: Analyze the environment, looking for what you can adapt for
optimal function. You may need to let go of where you have formerly placed items, what you may have planned for the use of certain space and how you had planned to spend your time. Place a priority on the needs of your family member, asking yourself questions in regard to their physical needs.


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