National Caregiver Month Demand Reflection

National Family Caregiver Month occurs each year in November. It is an opportunity for all family caregivers to look at how caregiving has affected them. It’s a month that should ring grateful gratitude for having the ability to care for a loved one. Easy, no, necessary, yes! Family members neglect many elderly loved ones because caregiving requires a real sacrifice. When decisions are made to place a loved one in a nursing home, the care rendered by someone still requires reflection. You cannot go on your merry way thinking compassionate care will go on after you leave the facility. Yes, we hope care is rendered in a way that decreases the care recipient’s feelings of being burdened! Our loved ones’ wonder years should be just that…Wonderful! But when you discover something abnormal in a facility, action is EXPECTED!

Reflection of Care.

All loved ones want a clean face and clean body. All loved ones want clean and manicured nails. All loved ones want good mouth care. All loved ones want food they can chew and swallow. Toenails should never be overgrown. The skin should always be checked, head to toe. In the elderly, circulation can be diminished or impeded, so taking care of the skin, the largest organ of the body, needs daily care. Be mindful of loved ones who are incontinent. It is vital to check and change every three to four hours. Protecting the skin in the buttocks and groin is just as important. Proper nutrition is required, and the caregiver must know if special or restrictive diets are necessary. Reflection of care will prevent many missteps and head off many problems before they occur. If caregivers reflect on the requirements of care for a loved one, they will feel loved but, most importantly, cared about. Keeping a watchful eye is the best way to protect your loved one while caring. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, as National Caregiving month continues… reflect on the question, how would you feel if you needed care? Use your answer to give the best care possible. Be safe! Be Well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

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