16 May, 2018
Often, in our country, you will find that it falls on family members to take care of those confined to the bed, mostly the elderly, and at times even the young, due to injury or illness. Full-time care is a challenge, and till recently, there was no choice. It was also seen as a task that should not offer as though it diminishes the love and concern. Family members take on the caregiver role, out of love and commitment to the relationship.
However, nowadays, you do have the options of trained attendants, home nurses and caregivers to choose from. Taking care of a bedridden family member can be extremely difficult. It involves a considerable amount of patience, understanding, and at times, physical as well as an emotional strength too. It can be more than overwhelming at times, and you may feel as if you are tied down and kept from enjoying your own life, it is no less than a sacrifice. It can get boring, tiresome and frustrating as well. All these things can lead us to lose our human side and let go and become angry and even abusive at times. Here are a few pointers, that needs to be kept in mind, when we are taking care of bedridden people, just so that we know what is involved and can plan and prepare for it.
Patience and sympathy
The patient may be in great distress owing to their condition, and hence, it is imperative to understand them emotionally. Patience and sympathy, if not empathy, is highly essential as with these two qualities, many others will fall into place. If you make them feel that they are a burden, then there are chances of them going into depression, and giving up on life itself. Handle their mood fluctuations as this may be common, especially in older people.
Try to provide the maximum comfort, by having an adjustable bed, installing a bedside bell which they can use to call when needed, an airy room with enough light and a window side view if possible, or a TV which they can watch, and a night lamp, etc. Just being able to observe life outside, like kids playing on the road, can put them in a good mood.
Hygiene too has a big role to play in the comfort factor. Moving then often as needed to prevent bed sores, bathing them every day, cleaning up their bedpans, or changing their diapers in time, etc., can help a lot in avoiding sores and infections and also keep them in comfort. If a regular bath is not possible, a warm water sponge bath can also help a lot. Use soft, comfortable bed sheets, change them often, and use some rubber covers underneath for added protection. Grooming like the hair, beard, nails, etc. should also be looked into.
Have a bedside table with the medicines neatly organised in a medicine organiser box, use a Back Rest for bed if you don’t have an adjustable bed, and keep an LED torch handy as well. You may also look at a portable music player if they love music, or check out the wall mounted panic alarm, as well as a digital thermometer and a blood pressure monitor. Many of these home and mobility aids are available in the Samarth webstore.
Medicines and therapy
If they are advised any prescription medicines or even therapy of any kind, make sure that these are done as per schedule. Any improvement in the situation can mean a lot and also make you happy, as well as relieve a little of the distress. If possible and if allowed, you can get a wheelchair and try to move them around a bit in the open air.
Company and communication
It is important to provide human company rather than just offer them food and medicine on time and then forget. Communication can ease a lot of frustration, and encourage them to be open about any issue, and make them feel valued. Kids may be asked to spend some time with them, playing board games, reading books or telling or listening to stories etc.
The entire family has to chip in. If you are not available on a daily basis, look for options like a Samarth Care Plan to help ease the situation.
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