If your senior loved one has severe mobility issues or a debilitating illness, he or she may be bedbound. Caring for an elderly person who is unable to get out of bed poses many unique challenges. Fortunately, there are ways to care for a bedbound loved one so the experience is mutually satisfying.
1. Avoid Social Isolation
Being confined to a bed can cause social isolation, depression, and anxiety. It’s important to spend as much time as you can with your loved one. If work or other family obligations don’t allow for this, consider hiring a caregiver to keep your loved one company. Another option is asking friends and family to take turns visiting so your loved one can interact with others. Also, make sure you allow natural light into the bedroom during the day to provide a cheerful environment. If possible, position the bed near a window so your loved one can look outside. A television set, radio, reading material, and laptop can also help your loved one stay connected to the outside world.
Family caregivers who are unable to spend as much time as they’d like with their loved ones can benefit greatly from the help of a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Jefferson County, CO, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
2. Reposition as Needed
Spending hours in the same position can lead to skin breakdown and severe pressure ulcers. To reduce this risk, help your loved one change positions every two hours or so to keep undue pressure off problem areas such as the hips, ankles, lower back, and elbows. Also, massage these areas to promote circulation, which also minimizes the risk for skin breakdown. If you notice any redness, sores, excoriations, or other dermal abnormalities, call the doctor as soon as possible.
Helping a loved one change positions regularly can be challenging for some family caregivers to accomplish on their own. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care, Lakewood Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
3. Give Frequent Bed Baths
Since your loved one may be unable to get into the shower or bathtub, it’s essential that he or she get frequent bed baths. For a proper bed bath, fill up a wash basin with warm soapy water. Have a few soft washcloths on hand so you can use separate ones for the face, genital region, and legs. Make sure you wash and rinse all folds of the body and dry well. Bedbound people may have sensitive skin that is prone to breakdown, so it’s crucial that the skin always be clean and dry. If your loved one is incontinent, clean and dry the perianal area after each incontinent episode and apply a skin barrier product, such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointment. If your loved one prefers, apply a light dusting of a cornstarch-based powder to the area instead of the barrier product.
4. Allow Independence if Possible
Many seniors who are bedbound feel their independence has been taken from them. It’s important to allow your loved one to do as many things as possible independently. Elderly people who don’t have upper-body mobility limitations should be allowed to comb their hair, wash their faces, and brush their teeth. If they’re able, they can wash their lower bodies. However, bedbound seniors may not be mobile enough to perform lower-body care. Performing some activities of daily living may provide a sense of accomplishment and independence.
Skin breakdown and other conditions can be especially problematic for bedbound seniors, who may be more susceptible to infections because of diminished immune function. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Jefferson County families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Home Care Assistance today at (303) 987-5992 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.