Caring for someone with a disability or who is elderly and frail can place many physical and emotional demands upon the carer. There are a variety of techniques , equipment and services that can make their job easier and safer.
Further details on many of the services listed here are given in the section on 'Services' under which is a specific section for carer services and respite centres.
- Carers Queensland provides a Carers Support Kit free of charge. It offers information on services and supports available to carers.
- Often there are carer support groups related to specific disability groups that can offer support as well as information on the disorder or disability.
- Local communities provide services through the Home and Community Care (HACC) program, Community Health Centres, Public Hospitals or Nursing Agencies. Services that are provided may include; in home and day respite care, personal care assistance, house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, nursing care, meals on wheels, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services and local transportation options.
- DIAL (Disability and Info Awareness Line) is a good resource to find out who provides these services in your local area. The number is: 1800 177 120
Managing Memory Loss or Confusion
These are some ideas to assist when caring for someone with memory loss that msy help to decrease their stress and confusion.
- Maintain a regular routine with as much structure as possible
- Keep a written list of daily activities in an obvious place for the person to consult if required
- Include pictures or photographs of sequences or activities as visual reminders
- Have the day and date written largely in an obvious place
- Orient the person to the location of calendars and clocks
- Have doors locked with keys that are removed from the doors to prevent wandering
- Have the person wear an identificationbracelet with their name and phone number in case they wander
- Lock all cabinets with medication or harmful substances
- Regularly used and emergency phone numbers can be written largely and placed near the telephone or saved into phone contacts (even saved as speed dial numbers)
- Install a thermostat or hot water shut down device on the hot water outlets to prevent scalding from hot water
There are a range of problems that a client and their carer may experience and it is important to have the tools and the knowledge necessary to face them.
Bathing and Toileting
The bathroom can be a slippery place and is a potential area for falls and accidents to occur. There si a range of equipment available to improve safety when bathing for both the carer and the person being cared for.
- Slip resistant mats or stick on slip resisant strips can be placed on existing floors to increase slip resistance. Alternatively, existing floors can be replaced with slip resistant tiles or vinyl.
Bath Boards and Seats
- Bath boards and seats fit over the tub allowing someone to sit while bathing and eliminating the need to step over the hob. A range of shower chairs and stools are also available for use in the shower.
- Grab rails that are wall or floor mounted provide a safe and steady place to hold onto for support.
- Mobile toilet/shower commodes allow a person to be wheeled into a shower recess and over to the toilet.
- Bed pans and urinals can be used for toileting while remaining in bed
- A vairety of body worn incontinence products exist. Some can be washed and reused, others are disposable.
- A range of dosette boxes can be used to organise medication and to remind the user if it has been taken.
- Many chemists will also arrange medications into Webster packs similar to dosette boxes for a small charge.
- Electronic pill box reminders are also available. These devices incorporate an alarm which is used to remind the individual to take the medication.