Long Distance Caregiver
How to Care: Home Care
|| At-home Coping Strategies
care at home
- Learn as much as you can about the care recipient's illness,
disability or limitations.
- Contact health and community associations for information about
available services and community programs for the care recipient.
- Monitor the work of the professionals and care workers providing
care in the home.
- Talk to the health professionals about the care recipient's
- Ask the visiting nurse or therapist to show you how to perform
- Ask an occupational therapist for advice on medical aids, physical
aids and home adaptations that can help the care recipient function
as independently as possible.
- Ask an occupational therapist for tips on how you can assist
the care recipient with the activities of daily living.
- Find out whether community organizations, health associations
and community colleges offer training and education programs for
- Learn practical caregiving skills for
- Take time out. Take advantage of opportunities for respite.
- Caregivers, take care of yourselves.
Prevent caregiver burnout.
|| Break the caregiving responsibilities
into a series of manageable tasks with achievable goals.
|| Care recipients with dementia may respond
better to short visits, at first, from an outside caregiver.
Introduce the worker as a friend. Give the relationship time to grow.
|| If you are using the services of several
different types of home care providers, consider hiring a
case manager or care co-ordinator.
Hands-on Care: A Few Pointers
someone in and out of a wheelchair
a bed-bound person onto a bedpan
- face the wheelchair
- keep your feet and toes pointed straight ahead, weight evenly
divided on both feet
- stand as straight as possible, head up, back straight, shoulders down, knees
slightly bent, feet apart
- stand close to the person, knees bent, back straight
- with both hands, lift the person out of the wheelchair
- transfer to the required area and/or position
with baths and showers
- have the person lie on his back, bend his knees and keep his
feet flat on the mattress
- ask him to raise his buttocks
- slide the bedpan underneath or,
ask the person to lie on his side or help him to do so
- place the bedpan against his buttocks
- then ask him to or help him roll onto his back
- gather all the materials that are needed for the bath
- use non-skid mats on bathroom, bathtub and shower areas
- run the bath or shower at a suitable temperature
- assist the individual into the bath or shower
- provide only as much bathing assistance as is necessary
- respect the person's right to privacy and independence
- substitute sponge baths a few times a week
- gather all the materials that are needed for the bath
- place towels or plastic sheets around the individual
- fill a basin two-thirds full of lukewarm water
- cover body parts until ready to wash them
- wash and dry each area before moving on to the next
- start with the face, upper body and underarms
- wash each side from arm to legs
- turn the person on his side to wash the shoulders, back and
- wash the genital area
- gently rub lotion onto the skin
- make a list of all medications prescribed drugs and over-the-counter
- write down the prescription dates, dosages, prescribing doctor
- note any foods, drinks or activities that should be avoided
- note any positive results, side effects, allergic reactions,
- discuss with doctor or pharmacist, as necessary
Caring for the Caregiver
- Use your informal care network. Ask relatives, friends or neighbours
for help with specific tasks and errands.
- Seek out opportunities for respite care at home, in day
programs, or short-term stays in a facility
- determine what kind of help you need
- who can provide help
- how much it will cost
- what preparations you have to make for the helper and the care recipient
- Join a caregiver support group for emotional support, practical
information and to have a safe place to express and share your
thoughts and feelings.
- Stay in touch with friends if not in person, then, at least,
- Spend time alone for rest and relaxation.
- Look after your own health. Eat properly. Exercise regularly.
Schedule regular check-ups and discuss any health problems with
your family doctor.
- Seek professional help, if you notice signs of depression.
- Take advantage of any workplace programs that might help you
balance your caregiving responsibilities against your work, health
or family obligations and/or provide potential sources of funding
for home care, including respite.
|| Arrange for someone a volunteer from a
community visiting program or a paid companion to come
to the home, on a regular basis, and spend time with the care
recipient talking, reading, writing letters, taking
for walks, whatever works. The social and psychological benefits
for the care recipient can be invaluable.
|| When using in-home respite, leave the house for
short periods, initially; then gradually increase the amount
of time you spend away from the care recipient.
Contact people who are or once were members of the care recipient's
own social network. They may be more than happy to visit or
help in any way they can.
is the break that caregivers get by allowing someone else to temporarily
take over some of their caregiving duties. Used on a regular basis,
respite care helps prevent caregiver burnout, by relieving some of
the caregiver's workload and stress.
Respite care usually takes one of three forms:
- arrangements can be made for someone to come into the home to
look after or sit with the care recipient (even if the caregiver
is at home)
- the care recipient can be booked for a short stay (overnight,
weekend, a week or more) in a long-term care or other facility
- the care recipient can be registered to attend an adult day program
Respite care gives caregivers time off to:
- socialize with friends and family
- attend to other responsibilities
- recover from some of the stresses of caregiving
- renew their energies to continue providing quality care
Respite may also provide care recipients an opportunity to:
- meet with people outside the immediate family
- participate in social and recreational activities
- make new friends
- maintain a sense of identity and purpose
care is available through some provincial and
territorial home care programs. Check with your local health agency
for availability and fees. Respite care may also be obtained through
community organizations, volunteer organizations, not-for-profit agencies
and through private care agencies and individuals.
Adult Day Programs
day programs provide a therapeutic environment away from home for
older adults especially those who are frail, have chronic illness
or have cognitive impairments. The programs are held on weekdays,
during a portion of the regular working day. Activities are supervised
and the services may be provided by a combination of health care professionals,
trained staff and trained volunteers.
Adult day programs usually offer social, recreational and educational
activities, such as arts and crafts, music, exercise classes, discussion
groups, games, outings, meals and activities relating to specific
ethnic groups and cultures. Transportation to and from the day centre
may be included in the basic program or available for an additional
Adult day programs provide older adults an opportunity to:
- spend time away from home in a friendly, supportive environment
- socialize with other seniors
- learn new activities
- maintain a sense of independence
- boost their sense of self-worth
The programs also give caregivers time to relax or accomplish
Adult day programs are included in some provincial
and territorial home care programs. Check with your local health
agency for availability and fees. Adult day programs are also offered
by some hospitals, geriatric centres, long-term care institutions,
community organizations, volunteer organizations and not-for-profit