These life hacks will help ease your challenges with caregiving.
Being the caretaker of someone with Alzheimer’s is challenging, depressing, and sometimes exasperating. As a caregiver, you wear many hats. You are a nurse with skills to fix bumps and bruises, a housekeeper to clean up messes, and a doctor with knowledge about medical conditions. In addition, you need a good attitude, the patience of Job, an understanding demeanor, plus a connection between you and the patient. Here is a list of house hacks might make your life easier.
Great hacks for making caregiving a lot easier
- Smart outlets: Connect Sense outlets allow you to control outlets and electricity through your phone or computer using your home Wi-Fi. Customize settings to turn off the lights with a timer lock, the doors, set the thermostat, and close your garage door. Customization makes life a little easier when you forget to turn off lights, lock doors, and close the garage.
- Use flameless candles:Candles provide fragrance, ambience, and cheer. Avoid using real candles around someone with Alzheimer's. One caretaker’s mother loved candles and the flickering light seemed to calm her down.The caretaker began to use flameless to prevent fires. Who knows? Her mother might forget to blow out a real candle!
- Use timed dimmers and lights: It’s easy to forget to turn off lights in unused or emptied rooms. Timed lighting is a great way to help you remember to turn off the lights in unused rooms.
- Child locks for medicine cabinets: Locks are meant to keep children out of medicine cabinets, and it is equally important to keep all medications out of reach of forgetful patients. With child locks on your medicine cabinets, you won’t need to worry about accidental overdoses.
- Use night lights: Night lights are an easy and inexpensive way to light the way during the night for someone who has Alzheimer’s. Often those with memory problems forget where they are, and a nightlight is a great way to help them find the bathroom or kitchen for a drink.
- Use a dual faucet instead of a single temperature faucet: Using a dual handle faucet will avoid the shock of water that is too hot or too cold. There are cases of those with Alzheimer’s burning their hands with scalding water when they only turned on the hot water handle. Plus, a single dual faucet is easier to clean.
- Remote controls: Remotes for the TV can be confusing for a mind that is already blurred. Cover the unnecessary buttons on the remote with tape, and label on button plus the volume and channel controls.
- Pre-plan and make easy to cook meals:Make a list of the meals you need to prepare for your Alzheimer’s patient. Keep these meals microwave ready for those time when things are a little hectic.
- Travel: A Back-Seat Assist seat can be very helpful when you need to get an Alzheimer’s patient in and out of the car. Keep a bag ready with items you may need on a trip to the doctor. A handy bag will be very useful when trying to get your patient in the car.
- Identity tattoos: As hard as this may be if you are caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s they may wander off and get lost. Purchase temporary tattoos labeled with their name, address, and your phone number. It would have been helpful when the neighbor’s mother ran away from home and got lost in someone else’s backyard!
- Apps for keeping medications in order:Keeping medications on schedule and in order can be a nightmare. There are convenient apps to help caregivers schedule and organize medications. Take the app to the doctor when you take patients to doctor’s appointments. You can show the doctor what medications the Alzheimer’s patient is taking.
Some caregivers have remade their living areas to be more usable for those who are still a bit independent, but they may still need extra help.
- An induction stove: An induction stove with a smooth top is a great idea if your loved one still cooks. A magnet helps the molecules in the cookware do the cooking. Once the cookware is taken off the stove, it shuts down automatically. It stops the worry that your loved one does not turn off the stove.
- Keep the stairs visible:Alzheimer’s patients have poor visual perception. Poor perception causes trouble walking and increases fall risks. Caretakers from Boston University suggest highlighting the edges of stairs with lights or reflection tape. These hacks will help Alzheimer’s patients find the stairs when their perception is failing.
- Music: Music soothes the “savage beast.” When your loved on who has Alzheimer’s becomes aggressive or oversensitive, music can calm them down. Keep a few playlists playing in the background to maintain peace and positive attitudes.
- TV Programs: You may not like what your loved one wants to watch, so keep a TV in a spot just for their use. Make them a comfy place and put a relaxing chair in front of the TV. Give them their own little place to watch television. Having their own space will keep them entertained and happy for quite a while.
- Keep home a safe place:There are many hacks that will help keep Alzheimer’s patients safe. Some useful hacks include making it safe to soap up in the shower by placing a bar of soap in a nylon sock. Have light switches glow in the dark. Purchase light switches that have LCD light in them, or just purchase reflection tape. It is a good idea to install non-slip materials on slippery to reduce fall risks.
- Home fixes to make life easier if your loved one lives on their own:Loosen cabinet doors to ensure cabinets are easy to open for those with arthritic hands. Use a tackle box to organize a portable medicine cabinet for others to use when you are away.Get an elongated water faucet which will help make washing hands easier.
- Keep mealtimes easy: Add a non-slip grip to glasses and design a way to ensure forks and toothbrushes are easy to grip.
- Ease your own burden: Make your life more comfortable as a caregiver by using tools that ease the burden of everyday living. Keep everything in its place. A minute you don’t use to look for something can make a great deal of difference. Squeeze a few spare minutes out of your workday by minimizing the time you spend looking for lost things. Establish specific places for essential objects. Spend less time at the grocery store. Never shop without a list. Shopping without a list is a surefire way to waste time and forget necessities. Shop only at one or two grocery stores and learn their layouts. Knowing the store will cut down on impulse buying as well as save you time.
- Avoid multitasking: Caregivers have an endless to-do list. Multitasking can seem like the best solution, however, if you are trying to accomplish too many things at the same time, you will cause yourself more stress. Focus on one task at a time. Schedule your loved one’s appointments first and then move on to another function. Optimize workflow by organizing tasks into categories.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is challenging. Use these hacks to make life more comfortable for you and your loved one. Think of more on your own and write them down.