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Tips on How to Care for a Bedridden Aging Parent

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If your senior loved one is bedbound because of a serious illness or mobility deficits, he or she may be at risk for several health-related complications. Being confined to a bed raises the risk for skin problems, circulation deficits, psychological disorders, and muscle atrophy. Here are some strategies and tips you can follow when caring for a bedbound parent to ensure he or she stays as comfortable as possible.

Offer Protein-Rich Foods

Lying in bed for extended periods can lead to skin breakdown. To prevent compromised skin, offer your loved one protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, and dairy products. Eating protein promotes healthy collagen formation and keeps the lipid layer of the skin intact. If your loved one is unable to consume large amounts of protein because of kidney issues or other dietary concerns, talk to the doctor about which foods your loved one should eat to maintain healthy skin. 

Busy family caregivers who find it challenging to find time to shop for nutritious foods should think about enlisting the support of a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Winnipeg, MB, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Monitor for Incontinence

If your parent is incontinent, keep him or her clean and dry at all times. Urine and stool are very irritating to the skin and, if not promptly washed away, may lead to excoriated skin, which can raise the risk for infection and pain. After washing the area with warm soapy water and drying thoroughly, apply a soothing ointment, such as petroleum jelly, to the area. If you notice any redness, skin breakdown, or blisters, call the doctor right away. The doctor may prescribe a skin barrier product, antifungal cream, or topical antibiotic if a skin infection is suspected.

Help with Passive Exercises

Passive exercises involve holding an arm or a leg and flexing or bending it to promote circulation. These types of exercises also prevent muscle atrophy, relieve stiffness, and diminish pain. While assisting your loved one with passive exercises, massage the skin on the arms and legs to prevent skin breakdown. 

Helping a bedbound loved one exercise can be challenging for some family caregivers to accomplish on their own. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder care, Winnipeg Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Use Diversion Strategies

People who are bedbound often become bored, lonely, and depressed. Provide diversionary strategies—such as books, music, a laptop, or knitting supplies—to help your loved one pass the time. In addition, move the bed near a window so he or she can look outside. Seeing trees, flowers, plants, and birds may play an important role in keeping anxiety and depression at bay. Also, try spending as much time as you can with your parent so he or she won’t be alone for long periods. If your time is limited because of work or other obligations, ask family and friends to stop by for a visit. If need be, hire a caregiver to keep your loved one company while helping with everyday tasks such as light housekeeping and meal preparation.

Skin tears and other conditions can be especially problematic for bedbound seniors, who may be more susceptible to infections because of diminished immune function. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior home care. Winnipeg families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (204) 489 6000.