Caregiving at Home

1

Thinking About Home Care

2

Communication

3

Caring For Yourself

4

Setting Up Your Home, Safety and Body Mechanics

5

Preventing Infection in the Home

6

Normal and Abnormal Signs of Aging

7

Meeting Special Needs and Conditions

8

Death, Dying and Hospice Care

9

Providing Personal Care

10

Transfers and Ambulation

11

Basic Healthcare Skills

12

Healthy Eating and Hydration

13

Emergency Care

14

Medications

Chapter 4 Setting Up Your Home, Safety and Body Mechanics

One of the greatest concerns related to home care is safety. Most homes are designed, furnished and decorated with healthy, mobile occupants in mind. To accommodate care of an ill or elderly person, the home must be adapted to be safe, practical, and comfortable, not only for the person being cared for, but also for all members of the household. Chapter 4 explains how to assess and adapt your home for caregiving without making it inhospitable for the rest of the family.

As a first step, the chapter provides a list of questions to consider to help you determine if your home is safe for an elderly or ill person. The goal is to eliminate hazards and prevent potential accidents. The chapter identifies the most common kinds of accidents in the home, including falls, burns, poisoning, cuts, and choking. Tips for preventing these and other accidents in all areas of your home are also included.

Practicality is another consideration, and Chapter 4 offers suggestions for adapting the kitchen, living areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms. A third criteria for adaptation is comfort. This chapter identifies special concerns relating to comfort for older adults and describes how to create comfortable space in the home for all members of the family.

Caring for another person is a very physically demanding task. Chapter 4 explains the principles of body mechanics, which you can use every day as you are lifting or moving an object or a person. Body mechanics will help you avoid injury to yourself and your loved one and make the physical aspects of caregiving a little easier. The chapter ends with some additional ideas for avoiding injury and reducing the strain of caregiving on your body.