By: Jennifer Watson-Choi
Worried about your elderly parents care during the night? Many independent aging loved ones live alone and rely upon your regular visits for their necessities of daily living such as food, bathing and social interaction. Yet, what happens when you leave, the caregivers leave, and they’re home alone through the night? Or perhaps your elderly parents live with you yet you still worry about them while you’re trying to catch up on your own sleep.
Night brings many potential dangers for the elderly person, but here is how you can provide a safer environment for your loved one and peace of mind for yourself.
Bed Sensors: Night time can be disorienting for seniors, especially for those experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Getting out of bed during the night hours and wandering
in the dark brings the risk of falling over furniture, down stairs or other injuries. Consider a bed sensor, a pad that is placed across the mattress and when your loved one gets up,
sounds an alert. This alarm can wake them or you if you are staying in the next room.
Adjustable Bed Rail: If you’re worried about your loved one falling out of bed in the night, consider an adjustable bed rail. Similar to those found in hospital beds, the adjustable
bed rail ensures your loved one won’t fall out of bed and even provides support when climbing in and out.
Incontinence Pads: The muscular walls of our bladder weaken over time and incontinence is a result. As uncomfortable as it seems to have your elderly parent sleep in
incontinence pads that may get wet through the night, it is much safer than having them get up to go to the bathroom in a groggy state.
Slipper Socks: If you’re concerned about the risk of your parent falling, you most rightly should be as Health Canada estimates that each year, 1 in 3 elderly Canadians experience
a fall. Having them wear slipper socks rather than slippers can provide better traction.
Personal Alarm: For all matters of emergency and giving you peace of mind day and night, a personal alarm is a must for those elderly at risk of falling and not being able to reach the phone or those with health conditions that can come on quickly. At the press of a button on some models, emergency services will be summoned. Other models have a pull-cord which sounds an alarm.
Bed Caddie or Organizer: Keep books, eyeglasses, remote controls and a portable phone handy in the bed caddie to reduce the risk of falling as your aging parent tries to reach for their comforts during the night.
Night Lights: Low lighting in hallways, the bedroom, bathrooms and areas of danger can help to prevent tripping and falling over unseen dangers.
Consider Care at Night: For those seniors in need of more diligent care during the night, turn to Premier Homecare Services. We provide live-in and 24 hour care options to suit your unique needs either at home or in a long term care facility. Give the location nearest you a call to see how we can provide your family with peace of mind and better sleeps. For location information, go to PremierHomecareServcies.com or contact us at 1-877-884-1181.
By: Jennifer Watson-Choi
Cultural differences can present challenges in homecare, for the elderly, their families, the caregivers and companies providing the care. Ethnicity has been shown to have considerate importance in determining variations in the aging experience, definition of need and how the elderly make use of the services available to them. Where a person comes from can help us to provide personalized and respectful care. On the other hand, stereotyping people based on their country of origin or on where they currently live can be dangerous. What is needed is for cultural diversity to be considered, along with a knowledge of cultural customs, to help avoid misunderstanding and to provide proper care.
Anywhere there are people interacting, there are cultures interacting. This seems more obvious in urban environments, but shouldn’t be discounted in remote areas as well. This is where generalizations may be useful, but should not discount the individuality of a person. Knowledge of a culture can help us to make generalizations, which should be a diving board for understanding the person and their background more uniquely. For example, if one is caring for a person of the opposite sex and they are an Orthodox Jew, it is important to know that contact outside of hands-on care is prohibited. You would need to know this in order to adapt your care to their needs. Or consider eye contact, something valued in North American culture, which for the Chinese may be considered a rude behaviour to a person of status. Instead, averting the eyes is a sign of respect for the Chinese. Again, you would need to know this so you won’t misinterpret their averted eyes for disinterest or shame. Understanding that Canada is a beautiful mosaic of cultures is important for all professional care providers as well as for those who are receiving the care.
Considerations for Care Providers: Care providers have a unique responsibility to provide personalized care in a respectful and professional manner. Knowledge of broad patterns of behaviours and beliefs, in other words, generalizations, can give care providers a starting point from which to provide the most appropriate care. At Premier Homecare Services we get to know each client and their family through an assessment, from which we match an appropriate caregiver to their care. We consider language, religion or an understanding of the religion of the client, hobbies and personal interests, cultural background as well as the skill set required to assist the unique needs of each and every client. We work with the client and their family to ensure a positive, healthy match between the older person and their caregiver. We personally introduce the caregiver to the client.
Considerations for Elderly and their Families: Those receiving home care as well as the family members involved, are often found to be interacting with professional care providers from another culture. This can be a challenge for an elderly person who may have experienced a lifetime of change and just wants things to “be normal.” Having a home care provider who cares about your elderly loved one is where you need to start. Then, focus on the positive attributes of the caregiver and how they are going to assist them to remain independent. Take the discussion away from any negatives and instead bring up how kind, punctual or polite the caregiver is. Consider traits the elderly person values and mention how the caregiver possesses them also.
Canada is a mosaic of peoples, cultures, religions, points of view and ways of life. The fact that one country can be home to such a diverse population is a particular strength, however considerations in cultural diversity are needed when providing homecare, premier homecare.
Gelanti, G. (2000). An introduction to cultural differences. Western Journal of Medicine; 172 (5):335-336.
Weiland, D., Benton, B., Kramer, B. J., & Dawson, G.D. (1994). Cultural diversity and geriatric care: Challenges to the health professions. Gerontology and Geriatric Education, 15 (1).
By: Jennifer Watson-Choi
The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” – Muriel Rukeyser
We live our lives attempting to squeeze joy out of every day, packaging ourselves and our loved ones into photo albums, sharing these moments with friends on social websites and telling stories together at family gatherings. Our history is being written moment by moment, celebration by celebration. But when we die, where do these stories go? Is it important for your family to record the history of days gone past? Genealogy isn’t just for hobbyists and historians, it’s for any who wish to preserve these family moments for those who will enjoy them in the future. But preserving memories can go further than the facts on a family tree. Personally, I wish one or more of my ancestors had taken time to write about their daily experiences. How I would love to know the thoughts of my ancestors as they sat aboard the boat to Canada or how the marriage of my great, great grandparents was celebrated? I would sit with a steaming mug of herbal tea and let these stories steep into my consciousness, one at a time. Preserving memories can start like this, with your desire to keep traditions and stories alive.
Recording the Past
Family trees tell us not only of our families past, but also of ourselves. Recording family statistics can raise interesting details, prove a fulfilling hobby and teach us more about who our ancestors where and the experiences they had. Having a grandfather that fought in Vimy Ridge connects you to that particular place and time and may enrich a vacation to that area. Some embark on genealogic adventures to determine their medical history and susceptibility to illness. While family trees can only provide pieces of the puzzle, and while a photo or name from the past enlightens, the story behind them are still missing.
Taking the time to record the stories of those still with us is important. Ask your great aunt whether she would mind spending time recounting stories from the past. Cue her with questions around specific events, places or people. Ask about the house she grew up in, the school she went to, and what the neighbourhood was like. Record your visit with an audio recorder or camcorder and place the file onto a CD for storage. Family tree software even enables you to add the audio or video files to your family tree, given your subjects permission. This can be shared online with other relatives.
Keeping a journal of family affairs, events, deaths and births is a thoughtful idea in addition to the family tree. Who knows how valuable the information you write will be? My uncle collects old tractors, has a barn full of them on the old family farmstead and my mother still has the accordion her father bought for her from a travelling salesman when she was young. Real life stories are often more interesting than fiction!
Consider the kinds of memories you would like to reflect upon one day. In the fast-pace of our lives we can forget what we are living for. Remind yourself of this often, life is to be enjoyed. Connect with your family and write letters to those you don’t get to see often. You are writing a history, moment to moment. Make it one worth remembering, worth preserving.