Young people with disabilities try to lead an active life by successfully master Internet technologies, working in freelance jobs and communicating with like-minded people on social networks. Older people with disabilities are less active and suffer from comorbidities. Both need outside help with dealing with daily routines.
Choosing a Caregiver to Care for a Person in a Wheelchair
To organize care for a person with limited mobility relatives need to think through every detail. First decide who will care for the disabled person: family members a nurse or a caregiver in a nursing home. If the decision is made to hire a caregiver you should pay attention to the following characteristics
- having experience working with patients in a wheelchair
- availability of medical education
- character qualities: tolerance, patience, politeness
- physical qualities: strength, endurance, stamina.
You can look for a caregiver on your own through acquaintances, ads on the Internet or by applying to a care agency. Reputable care companies have a staff of caregivers trained to work with bedridden and sedentary patients. Experienced staff can also help you pick a wheelchair or portable mobility scooter at MarcsMobility for your senior if requested.
Caregivers can be hired for a full day or half day. There is also an option to hire a live-in caregiver who lives in the same apartment as the disabled person. If there is special rehabilitation equipment in the apartment the caregiver should be instructed in its use.
The major information that a caregiver should be provided:
- patient’s medical history
- their favorite habits, social circle and eating habits
- interests, activities and occupation if present.
The caregiver must have a complete understanding of the person they are going to care for and their individual characteristics.
Areas of Responsibilities a Caregiver May Cover
The caregiver’s functions are discussed in detail with the patient’s relatives at the contracting stage.
The standard set of responsibilities includes:
- following the doctor’s appointments;
- monitoring the timely intake of medications;
- preparation of food for the elderly while taking into account the diet;
- maintaining the cleanliness of the ward’s room;
- hygienic care and prevention of bedsores;
- taking to appointments and grocery shopping if requested.
A person in a wheelchair has an immobile lower part of the body. The upper part remains active so the disabled person can do many of the movements themselves. These include washing their face, brushing their teeth and eating food. It is important for the caregiver to gently move him or her from the bed to the wheelchair to take them to the kitchen or bathroom. If there are handrails or wheelchair ramps installed in the house a caregiver should be aware of the proper using such assistive devices.
The disabled person’s room should be cleaned wet daily using non-allergenic detergents. The room should be ventilated at least twice a day for 20 minutes. During this period the senior patient is taken out in a wheelchair or mobility scooter to an adjoining room. The body of a person with limited mobility has reduced immunity. Drafts especially during the cold season can cause colds. A caregiver should take this into account when cleaning rooms in winter.
Every day people with disabilities are taken out for a walk. Fresh air improves circulation and appetite and sunlight gives the patient vitamin D.
Organizing Physical Activity
Daily physical activity is recommended for wheelchair users to strengthen the body in general. The caregiver and relatives should consult with the attending physician on how to organize such activities. It can be done at home or outdoors with the caregiver helping out where necessary.
Here are the main activities a caregiver can provide with their patient in a wheelchair outdoors:
- walking with a caregiver in the park or along the street (when possible);
- swimming in special pools for people with disabilities;
- riding a mobility scooter;
- playing wheelchair-friendly sports like basketball, table tennis and others.
Caregivers should also be able to help their patients find activities they enjoy and can do outdoors. These can be painting classes, theater group or gardening clubs. Such activities for seniors are essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being.
Choosing the right caregiver for any person with limited mobility is essential. Caregivers need to have patience and kindness but also know how to offer practical assistance when necessary. It’s also vital that caregivers be knowledgeable about what resources and activities are available that can help seniors with limited mobility stay active, engaged and happy. With the right caregiver in place elderly people can remain independent for as long as possible.