When a parent becomes bedridden, the stress can hit you hard. Whether you’re providing care or just finding someone to help with it, it can take a huge emotional toll on you. We feel your pain and hope you find all the help you need at the right time. This is why you’re the focus of attention this time around. Have you just been told that your parent will not be able to move independently anymore like s/he could and you’re wondering what next? Here are some care tips you can apply to help both yourself and that parent through the difficult time.
Help with basic hygiene:
A bedridden person may or may not be able to keep with their own hygiene tasks as they might not be able to use one or all of their limbs. This is when you or another caregiver will need to help them. From bathing to dental care, nail care, hair care, and changing clothes, these are all tasks your parent may need help with.
For bathing, you may be able to help your parent into a shower chair, using a wheelchair. Where they can mostly bathe themselves please supervise.
If the case is that of being completely bedridden, you’ll need to bring items to them. If it’s time to do some shaving, it’s advisable you use an electric razor particularly if you’ve never shaved anyone else.
Watch for bed sores:
Being bedridden comes with certain health risks that you need to watch out for if you’re providing care for your parent. Bed sores are most common. They generally appear where the person’s body touches the mattress for a long time, such as the bottom of the feet, the shoulders, the buttocks, and the back of the head. To avoid this as much as possible, try to change your parent’s position every two hours, and encourage them to move their body in the bed as much as possible. You can also find special mattresses and cushions that can help relieve pressure points.
Pay attention to the sheets. Ensure they are either cotton or silk. Smoothen them out before placing your parent on them because wrinkled sheets can increase the chance of bed sores.
Moisturise your parents skin regularly. Avoid using scented soaps and talcum powder, as those can cause the skin to dry. Dry skin makes your parent more susceptible to bed sores. It would also help to make sure your parent is drinking at least two litres of fluid a day.
How do you recognise sores? People with darker skin may develop blue or purple patches, those with lighter skin will develop red or white patches. Cracks, wrinkles, swelling, shiny areas, blisters, and dry areas are also indicators of bed sores. Talk to a nurse (or any health professional) if you start noticing these signs.
Be observant for signs of chest problems:
When laying in bed regularly, liquids can build up in the lungs which can lead to congestion and even pneumonia. The best way to combat this problem is to make sure your parent is rotated to a new position regularly, preferably every two hours. That might sound like a lot of work but it is life saving.
Provide emotional support:
The emotional side of life is very important. Negative emotions during illness can be just as destructive. When your parent becomes bedridden and can’t do the things they used to or visit with the people they enjoyed seeing regularly, it can be demoralizing. To help them, you can encourage people to come over and visit with your parent, so they have regular interaction.
Also, it is important to provide a safe place where your parent can talk about how they feel. You can be this person some of the time, could be friends, other family member or a professional.
Request help from friends and family:
When your parent is bedridden, you may feel like you’re alone in the situation. Don’t feel so. There are friends and family members who would like to help you, but they don’t know how to. Take the time to meet with friends and family members one at time to ask for help. Be specific about the help and make sure they have the capacity to carry out the task before you inform them.
Let the professionals help:
You can’t do it all, especially if you’re working or have a business to run. If your parent has become bedridden, you will more than likely need help from professional caregivers. If you’re caring for the person at home, there are healthcare professionals who can care for them at home. If the person will need long-term care, you may need to consider placing them in a facility that provides care in such a situation. If your parent has a terminal illness, hospice care may provide some relief. Ensure you speak with them and they have acknowledged that they’re comfortable with it.
When it comes to a parent’s health, you may find that having specific answers can somehow make the diagnosis a lot more manageable. When you have questions, ask the health professionals and if you don’t understand their answer, ask them to explain it in layperson’s terms. You deserve to know what’s going on since you’re the caregiver.
Maintain your emotional and physical health:
It can be traumatising as you’ve lost who your parent was. Let yourself feel those emotions. Acknowledge them and make sure you find someone trustworthy to talk to. It’s good you relieve the tension.
Neglecting your physical health can happen when you’re caring for a bedridden parent. But it’s important to make your health a priority, too. Make sure you’re eating enough and healthy. Try to get some exercise in when you can, as it will lower your stress level and keep you healthy. Your parents can get the help they need when you’re first healthy right?
Are you currently taking care of a bed ridden parent? How do you feel and how have you been coping? Please share with us in the comment section.