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If someone is confined to bed, get a travel bag (soft fabric), rather large, for toiletries. You might include hotel-sized lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, baby wipes, comb and brush, tissue, notepad, address book, pen, TV remote and other items. Put it near or in bed at arms’ length. It’s also good for use in the car when traveling—comes in very handy.
Aromatherapy works! Use lavender or chamomile spray on pillow and top sheet. Let dry...Try gentle massage with lavender or chamomile oil. Massage temple, neck, shoulder and feet just before bedtime. Make it a ritual—very relaxing and calming. You can buy these products at bath and body stores or experiment and make your own with concentrated lavender or chamomile oil and water in a spray bottle.
Write a limited number of important phone numbers in large print and post above the telephone for someone who is alone to be able to contact you if needed. Also, leave a sign on the front door regarding things that need to be checked before leaving the house to make sure person has them, e.g., keys, eyeglasses, lock the door, etc.
Before doing something for the care recipient such as moving them, changing the linens, etc., tell them what you are going to do. It cuts down on the agitation and their fear.
I suggest buying a pill organizer for each person, and once a week dispensing all meds to be used throughout the week. Having them pre-counted will not only save you time, but also assure that there will be no mistakes at counting and dispensing.
Music is often soothing and people can remember old songs and hymns when they might not be able to remember other things. Singing along with them can calm someone as well as be entertaining.
I carry spare things in my van in case something happens when we are out (learned this one the hard way!) I carry a urinal, toilet paper, throwaway pads for sitting on, extra underwear and clothes.
Also: I carry a list of all my dad's medications, doctors and insurance with me. I typed a list on the computer and then laminated it. You can even reduce it to wallet size, if needed. I also carry a list of phone numbers with me, dad's daycare, the bus service that transports him, neighbors, family, anybody I can think of that can help me out in a pinch.
Try labeling drawers with what goes inside, so the person can find everyday objects and is also more likely to return objects to their proper place.
San Jose, CA
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