Taking care of your loved one at home is a big responsibility. If you are doing home care for your spouse, parent, or other older relative, you probably realize that keeping your loved one safe and healthy requires planning. Here are tips on these 3 ways to deliver quality home care: skin care, nutrition care, and fall prevention.
Is your loved one’s skin thin and dry? It is important to protect that fragile skin from becoming weakened and developing bed sores (pressure ulcers) or diaper rash (incontinence-associated dermatitis). Older skin heals much more slowly and needs to be supported with the right kind of care and products. Here are some tips for keeping fragile skin healthy:
- Use a gentle no-rinse foaming cleanser rather than soap and water, especially if your loved one wears adult diapers.Regular soap and water can dry out skin, so avoid those.
- Pat skin dry or allow to air dry.
- Use moisturizers that are especially designed for conditioning older skin.
- Carefully inspect skin after each adult diaper change for signs of rash or infection.
- Use a barrier cream designed for fragile skin as a preventative measure.
Perhaps you are worried that your elderly loved one is not eating right. Many elderly individuals lose their appetites and sometimes their digestive systems don’t absorb nutrients easily. Help ensure they receive quality nutrition at home by doing the following:
- Keep a food diary of what your loved one eats each day and write down what they are served that they don’t eat.
- Maintain the food diary for about two to three weeks and then show it to your loved one’s doctor or nutritionist to see what foods might need to be added or removed.
- Make sure that they have plenty of uninterrupted time to eat.
- Consider giving them several smaller meals if they don’t have a big appetite.
- Oral care is very important to their overall health and ability to properly chew their food. If they have dentures and they have lost weight, their dentures may not fit properly. Remember to have your loved one checked by a dentist to be sure their teeth and gums are in top notch shape.
If possible, talk with your loved one about what kinds of foods they would like to eat, or how they could add better nutrition into their diet. If you’re no longer able to talk to them about this, see if you can remember their favorite foods and try those.