It is not easy to see a loved one end up in bed permanently due to an illness or old age; however, it happens a lot, and many people have suddenly found themselves in the position of caregiver without having any training or idea of what this new role will demand from them.
Most definitely, in-home care is the best kind of care a bedridden person can have if it is undertaken with love and commitment. This doesn’t mean, of course, that it is an easy alternative.
Bedridden patients who are cared for at home have many needs and require constant attention, which together with the normal activities around a house and of its members, can sometimes get beyond overwhelming.
Here we give you 17 tips to help you balance your life if you have assumed the role of caregiver to a loved one:
1. Always make medical and personal decisions founded on a solid base of integrity so that you are not troubled by second guessing later.
2. Be real about what’s happening today. Don’t imagine things are worse, and enjoy the good parts. Do not let images of what could happen control your life.
3. Be honest with family and friends. Talk regularly and be direct about what’s happening.
4. Expect and be ready for difficult talks. Family and friends will digest the news of an illness at different times; so, at first some may not understand the tension you are going through.
You have to explain the illness, treatment, side effects, etc. to them thoroughly, and maybe even meet with the doctor so that he can address questions in an accurate way.
5. Learn the medical language. This will help your work as a caregiver. Search the web for trusted websites where you can find accurate information, but always confirm it with the doctor to avoid worrying needlessly.
6. Get every item that can help you ease the work. Bedridden patients who can’t move by themselves must be moved at least every two hours to avoid bedsores, and this is an exhausting task.
Get a low air loss mattress, which will turn the patient automatically at established hours and will allow you to rest at night and do other things during the day. Equally, get a bath kit, which is especially designed to simplify bathing a bedridden patient. There are many other in-home care items that will make yours and your loved one’s life easier and happier.
7. Learn to listen and be compassionate, because your loved one’s mood may change abruptly due to their condition, and you have to understand this is only temporary and you shouldn’t take it personally.
8. Control what you can. Get help with household chores, with yard work, cook meals in advance, organize your bills and paperwork so that you know what you are spending, and plan your work.
9. Stop trying to control what you have no control over. You can’t change the reality of your loved one’s illness, but you can trust there is a reason for everything… even for this.
10. Rest. Find a comfortable spot at home where you can relax on a comfy chair surrounded by a nice and clean environment.
11. Cook comfort food with love. It will soothe everyone’s soul, will provide nutrition for healing, and will put a smile on your loved one’s face.
12. Enjoy life. Find new interests that you can enjoy with your loved one at home: play games, watch movies, listen to music, paint, and simply enjoy simple pleasures.
13. Write a journal. This gives you a private space to let it all out.
14. Envision the future. Even in the face of illness, we can grow, so don’t stop making plans.
15. Give to others. Give as much as you will receive during these difficult times: a comforting word, a prayer, or a distracting conversation, can make a person’s day when they are feeling low. Giving will make you feel spiritually and emotionally full.
16. Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, rest, and learn to say no. Go out from time to time to get energized.
17. Do not expect to be perfect. Caregivers have their low moments, and this is more than understandable. Do the best you can and let go of the rest.
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