Essentials: A caregiver’s best friends

A caregiver needs plenty of things in order to do her job effectively. In my time so far in caregiving for my grandmother, I know there are a few items I cannot live without. What I am listing below are what I consider to be my “best friends” when caring for my grandmother. It may sound silly, but there have been nights when I was beyond grateful to have these items at the ready because they are so good at their jobs. Honestly, these should be in every caregiver’s house.

These first six may seem obvious but I cannot stress enough how much these items are needed. You never know if you’re going to have a bad day, especially when cleaning is a constant chore even on a good day. These items are always on hand at our house and on auto ship from Amazon every month or every other month. With regard to the Tena briefs, these are by far the best we’ve found. If the cost is out of your price range, you may actually be able to get them free and delivered to you through Shield HealthCare.

The last few on the list may seem like luxuries, and technically they are, but I assure you they are very necessary and should be purchased as soon as possible if you are caring for a loved one who is incontinent and/or has dementia.

  • Silent Knight pill crusher
  • Drop Cam or Nest Cam (Nest Cam replaced Drop Cam)
  • Vinyl zippered mattress cover

I realize that the Silent Knight is 7x more expensive than those “easy” pill crushers where you manually grind the pills like a mortar and pestle, but if you’re crushing up to 5 pills a day, this is a time saver for sure. And really, those other ones are not easy at all. I will note one thing though – if cost is deterring you, see if you can get some of those pills in liquid form. You can’t crush all prescribed pills so be sure to get the okay from the doctor first if no liquid version is available.

The camera is more for peace of mind. I’m able to check-in on Tata in the morning to see if she’s still sleeping or not. If she is, I’m sneaking in a few more minutes of sleep. But mostly, this is great for those moments I have to leave her alone for 5 minutes to go to the restroom or, if I wake up and find that she fell, I’m able to see how she fell, how badly she hurt herself, etc.,  and I’m also able to see if she’s actually been up all night so I can plan the rest of the day based on her mood.

The vinyl mattress cover will simply save your mattress, is pretty affordable and should be a no-brainer. If you don’t already have one, you should get one.

Now, I definitely have other items that help in the cleaning and maintenance when caring for my grandmother, but these items I personally just can’t see living without. Now, I know I said that everything on this list were my “my best friends” but there really is one true bestie that is not listed and I feel I must mention. While what I have listed makes life easier, life is exceptionally better because of the one thing I always make time for – exercise. I know, you’re thinking that there is no time, but there is. There’s a quote I read not too long ago that basically said…

‘you’re not tired, you’re uninspired’

If you think about it, everyone experiences a day in the same amount of time – 24 hours. No more, no less. So the excuse of having no time is just an excuse when you really think about it. That is why I have to make time every morning to workout despite the fact that I’m not a morning person.  I tried and tried until I found a workout that inspired me. Without that personal alone time to work out how tired or frustrated I might be, I would not be able to stay patient and positive. It rejuvenates me and all caregivers must make time for themselves doing something that rejuvenates them. But we can discuss this in another blog. =)

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