Thursday, 16 October 2014

UBC Day 16 - Tips for Carers - Home environment

Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Challenge, Day 16.  My focus for the past couple of weeks has been sharing my tips for those who are carers or are soon to be, and also for those who know carers that may benefit from some suggestions to help them as they work through their role.

Today I want to talk about environment, and the things that you can do in the space that you or the one the you care for lives in if they are still able to live in their own home. 


Over the years I have found it so important to adjust where necessary with regards to my mums home and her general environment.  When she first started to show signs of dementia we wanted to make being independent in her own home as easy as possible for her.  We used to prepare meals and put them into containers for her so that she didn't have to worry about using the cooker to cook a full meal but could heat up her food as needed.  We found that labeling cupboards and key things around the house helped her to navigate her way around.  We did at one point arrange for Meals on Wheels to deliver food, but it didn't work for her, and her perception of their service was that they were for people who couldn't help themselves and she didn't see herself in that position.  Simple things like putting the tea, sugar and biscuits on a tray near the kettle meant that she could quite easily find what she was looking for in one place
Change from one space to another can make a big difference

I found that clearing the clutter around the home and brightening the rooms helped, there was less things to have to tidy up because in her search to locate something she would turn the place inside out, and it allowed her to move around easier, but also enabled her to locate what she wanted in the home.  Mum's vision was being effected I found that having highly patterned furniture and carpets effected her perception of her surroundings, so where possible we had to change these.

Create a clear space

My recent adaptation has been to move mum from her previous home, the one we grew up in as kids, into one that facilitates the use of a wheelchair and is adapted for her needs, such as a wet room. It wasn't an easy decision as I had the emotional ties to our childhood home, but when she began to find walking difficult and we had to start using a wheel chair It got increasingly stressful carrying the chair up and down the stairs, and took a toll on her as well.  I think that she is happier in the new flat.  
Create a space that suits your needs

As the years have passed and mum has declined and slowed down, I have tried to ensure that I am one step ahead and think about what she would need as time goes on before she needs it, but I also encourage her to make an effort and do what she can as much as possible to keep some independence, however small.

You may be limited in the physical changes that you can make to your home but there is always something you can do which will not only help the one that you are caring for but also help you and could make a big impact on your role as the care giver.

For now, think about your space and the needs of the one that you are caring for and how this is affecting you.  What simple changes can be made to the environment that will impact on their well-being,  It might be as simple as putting stuff away and painting the room that can create a brighter environment, start thinking about what you can do and take a step to make the change.


If you want more Tips for Carers click HERE. You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.

Tips for Carers
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