Caregiving essentials

Hello Caregiving Friends,
I am now in Pittsburgh caring for my 87 year old mother while my sister, who is her primary caregiver, takes a well deserved respite break. Stepping into the primary caregiver role I am reminded how important it is to obtain the correct equipment for providing safe and comfortable care. I would like to present the “essentials” that our family has put in place…they have all been life savers and have allowed my mother to stay in her own home (that is her fervent wish).
Because my mother is almost fully blind and frail, we needed a way that she could remember to take her medications twice per day, and also take the correct medications. We found a wonderful alarming pill box which my sister fills every two weeks. I cannot tell you how successful this has been. Here is the link which has the description for that machine here.
The second device that is an exceptional aid in getting mom from one place to another due to her poor mobility is a stand assist device. Mom has the ability and the upper body strength to pull herself up but not to move her legs to ambulate. The stand assist helps her feel supported by the shin rests and seat paddles and now anyone can help get her to the kitchen table for a meal, bathroom or into her transport chair. This is a caregiver “back saver” and a safe way for mom to transfer. Please see this site for additional information.
The third essential device is a transfer chair. These help a frail care-receiver stay connected to the community. A transport chair is like a wheelchair but has small wheels, is light weight and is pushed by the caregiver. Your care-receiver may have difficulty walking longer distances or is very slow to ambulate. This chair helps get the “long” route taken care of comfortably and safely and once at the designated area your loved one can be independent again. These go on sale at Walgreens often and are another safe and comfortable way for both of you to get out together.

Fourth on my list of essential equipment is a fully functional bath bench. We just got this ”super” bench. From mom’s stand assist we can deliver her to the shower bench. This bath transfer bench has it all, a wide seat that slides and swivels and a sturdy back and adjustable legs for height difference. View Bath transfer bench here.
Next on the essential list is the installation of grab bars where needed. These are most often used in the bathroom area, to enter or exit the bath tub or shower safely. They can also be installed near the toilet to help assist with sitting and rising. I have also seen them installed at the entrance door from the garage and a swing bar installed at the bedside.
A clever way to have access to your care-receivers home without them having to get up to answer the door is a lock box that holds a key. Those who require access are given the code to get obtain the key for easy access.
The final essential that my family has put in place is a “Notebook” for daily journaling. Since there is a “care team” made up of family, friends and paid caregivers each is asked to log what they do each visit or any special requests voice by my mom or need of any of the care providers.
This is what my family has put in place, each caregiving situation is different and may require some or all of these aids.
Please let me know what your families have found helpful, so that we all may benefit.
Thank you.
Aimee

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