31 Ways to Make Home Care More Comfortable
In today’s world, home care is an incredibly popular alternative to residential care, with more and more people choosing to remain in their own houses rather than move into assisted living.
Your job role may require you to care for someone in later life or someone with an illness or a long-term medical issue, and you may visit once or twice a week or several times a day.
No matter the circumstances, you’re caring for the person in their own home where things are familiar to them, and each of these people deserves to be looked after with the care, attention and respect that anyone would expect to receive in their own home.
To help you achieve this aim, here are 31 ways to make your home care more comfortable for the person involved:
- Keep to the person’s normal morning/evening routines wherever possible. This helps to maintain familiarity for the person if they’re used to waking, toileting, bathing and dressing in a particular order.
- When helping a person to bathe, use their own choice of toiletries and beauty products so that they feel comfortable and in control.
- Lay out outfits for the person the day or night before and allow them to choose clothes wherever possible. This helps to speed up the morning routine for you whilst allowing the person to remain in control of their personal style.
- Maintain the person’s dignity at all times. Check that curtains are drawn and doors are closed so people can’t see or wander in whilst the person is dressing or bathing. Similarly, always ask for their permission before dressing or bathing the person.
- Be mindful of the person’s culture, sexual orientation and/or religion as this may impact the level of physical contact they are comfortable with. For example, consider whether they’d prefer a male or female carer or more privacy.
- Help the person with everyday household tasks that they normally do themselves, and would like to continue doing, but are no longer able to. For example, do the washing up, load the dishwasher, vacuum, peg out the laundry or do some ironing.
- If you’ve only got a spare couple of minutes, run a duster over the mantelpiece or tidy up the coffee table. These small gestures will be appreciated and will help the person to maintain pride in their home.
- Make a few phone calls and arrange any necessary house repairs on behalf of the person to aid with the upkeep of their property and ensure it’s a safe and comfortable place for the person to live.
- Highlight the edges of steps or any changes in floor level with brightly coloured tape to aid the person to see them. This is particularly useful if the person has impaired vision or cannot easily recognise the floor level changes.
- Arrange for handrails to be installed by stairs, ramps and chairs to help the person move around more independently when you’re not there.
- Arrange the furniture so that there is enough space for the person to move around freely. This can help a person who uses a mobility aid to maintain their independence.
- Remove any loose rugs to avoid slip and trip hazards.
- Ensure the person has enough lamps in each room to improve visibility.
- Ask the person whether they’d like help paying their bills, paying money into the bank or using a cash machine. The person may be worrying that they can’t get bills paid on time, especially if they’re house-bound or struggle to hold a pen.
- Assist the person to open and read their mail and allow them the privacy to read it alone if they ask.
Food and Drink
- Label any food containers that are in the fridge and the cupboards so the person can maintain independence and easily see what they have to eat. Labelling is particularly useful if the person has dementia.
- If you cook for the person, write the weekly menu out and stick it to the fridge or a noticeboard so the person is aware of what’s coming up and can make suggestions or amendments.
- Help the person to write their shopping list and then assist them at the shops or go on their behalf. Allowing them to help with the list ensures they remain in control and don’t feel helpless or like you’re doing everything for them.
- Educate the person in food storage, nutrition and preparation so that they can continue to carry out tasks independently and take care of their own nutritional needs.
- Arrange a meal delivery (like Meals on Wheels) if you can see the person is struggling to cook for themselves each day. Discuss this with the person to get their cooperation before you sign them up so they are aware of what’s going to happen.
- If the person appears to have a poor appetite then ensure they have food they enjoy and check they’re not in pain or feeling unwell. Small and regular meals are sometimes better for people in later life than big meals at lunch and dinner. If you suspect that the person is unwell, arrange a visit from a GP.
- Make sure the person always has a drink to hand to prevent dehydration.
- When providing treatment, always talk through what’s happening so the person knows what to expect. Carrying out procedures without keeping the person informed can cause distress and anxiety.
- Always ask the person for permission before administering treatment, touching their body or removing clothing. This will ensure the person’s dignity is upheld and helps to remove feelings of anxiety or stress.
- If the person becomes anxious or confused, be flexible and understanding. Never force a person to complete an action if they are resisting.
- Help the person to be independent and in control of their own medication by explaining what everything is for and how often it needs to be administered. Use a pill box to help the person track the days of the week.
- Encourage physical activity so the person continues to feel strong and healthy. This could simply mean a walk round the block, stretches in their chair or a game of boules in the back garden.
- Be a friend for the person you look after, not just their carer. Take some time and get to know the person and how they like things to be done so they feel like an individual and not just another name on a list.
- Start a conversation with the person each time you see them rather than using the minimum amount of words needed to get the job done. Help the person to feel valued.
- Discuss the person’s family, hobbies and memories. These types of conversations will help the person to feel at ease with you, leading to a happy and trusting relationship.
- Avoid rushing through tasks with the person, even if you’ve only been allocated a few minutes with them before you need to move onto your next home. Even if you’re in a hurry it’s important that you don’t let the person see this. Treat them with care and attention and show that you’re happy to be there.
Author Bio: Louise Petty is a Content Author for High Speed Training, a UK online learning provider offering various safeguarding courses. She regularly writes for their blog, The Hub.