The physical caregiver challenges of providing care is a topic most family caregivers do not think about until it is too late.
Providing care at home, to help an aging family member, age in place, provides for unique opportunities to learn about your family member.
The caregiver challenges are four fold: mental, emotional , physical and financial. Understanding the caregiver challenges you may face will help you to make educated decisions on providing the best possible care, that is safe for you ,the caregiver and your family member.
The trend to help a family member age in place, rather than placing them in an alternative setting such as, an assisted living facility or nursing home is a growing trend. This trend, to keep a family member at home, has many moving in with their family member, or having the aging senior relocate and move in with the family caregiver.
An important thing for every family caregiver to consider is provide a balance between providing quality care and a safe environment.
The physical caregiver challenges you may face, may creep up on you slowly. You may or may not be in good physical health. There are many things a family caregiver must that requires lifting, turning, reaching pulling and tugging at things that your frail family member may not be able to do.
As an RN that has worked in physical rehabilitation for many years, then in long term care, I can tell you, it is important that you learn things to protect your own body when assisting your family member. A family caregiver should make sure that they eat right, get at least 8 hours sleep a night and at least a 30 minute walk in everyday.
I realize that this is not easy, but, it really will make your caregiving journey a healthier and happier one.
Take time to learn when providing in home health care to ask for a a Physical Therapy evaluation for home safety. Ask for a training session on proper lifting, turning and/ or transfer techniques to protect your back and shoulders. In doing this, you will also assure the safety of your family member. Ask about wearing a Safety Back belt for Lifting
Providing assistance when bathing, dressing or even toileting is physically demanding. It puts undo physical strain on the lower back and shoulders. Exploring adaptive home health products, and making adaptations to the home environment not only improve the safety of your family member and you, it will also make your job easier.
Simple things, such as grab bars in the bathroom, the use of non skid rugs in the bathroom, and high toilets or toilet risers are inexpensive items that can make the physical caregiver challenges easier.
It is important to understand and accept outside help and assistance when the time comes.
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