Caregiver Blog, News Feeds, Video Feeds, Useful Links

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tips for Overnight Caregivers

Good preparation for overnight caregiver shifts can help make the time shared by a caregiver and senior to be comfortable and enjoyable. One of the couples I have assisted used to say "welcome home!" as I came in the door. It was a great feeling.

Tips for overnight caregivers start with keeping a bag packed ahead of time. Sometimes a caregiver can be called at the last minute for a 24 hour shift.

I keep a lightweight sleeping bag, pillows, overnight personal supplies, and non-perishable food items packed in my car for overnight caregiving.

The sleeping bag means I don't need to use the client's bed linens and launder them in the morning on the day before I leave. Having my own pillows helps me to sleep better because it's more like being in my own home.

The overnight caregiver accommodations might be a bed, a couch in a living room, or a camping cot if the need for a caregiver came up suddenly.

Sometimes there is a danger that someone might get out of bed in the night alone and fall. If so, then someone puts an extra bed in the room for me so I am there to prevent falls. Even with bedrails some people climb out of bed and fall, but a caregiver in the room can act in time to prevent this.

Some instant coffee or tea, creamora, and packages of nutritious instant foods are part of my caregiver's overnight pack. Protein bars, cereal, soups, and nutrition drinks have been useful. On the way it's easy to stop for milk or other refrigerated foods. Even though clients often provide food for the caregiver, it's frequent that the caregivers need to bring their own to satisfy their preferences. Many seniors are on limited diets and I find it's often better to bring my own meals.

I also have a digital clock with an alarm that can be set if I need to get up to provide care for a senior client at certain times during the night.

Other useful items include some books, audiobooks, videos, puzzles or games, and a cell phone. Audiobooks and videos that meet the requests of the senior I am assisting can add a highlight to the day for people who are housebound.

Local libraries have free CD's, books on tape, videos, and DVD's and a caregiver can pick up titles or authors that a senior has requested. Some of the favorites have been travel, family humor, and biographies.

On rows of 24 hour shifts there might be periods of busy activity alternating with times of sitting and providing companionship. Having some good books with me helps pass the time when things are quiet. Arts or crafts can help to pass the time also. I sketch landscapes from photos in magazines.

My grandmother, who lived on the opposite side of the country, used to hire caregivers for what she called "sitting" because she was lonely and enjoyed the company. Many of her "sitters" knitted or crocheted. One used quiet companionship time to sew heart shaped pillows by hand with artistic embroidery and lace added. Gram developed close friendships with her caregivers and they enjoyed talking and sharing experiences.

Sometimes I am called at the last minute when another caregiver has had an emergency and it helps to simply keep these items in the car so I can leave at a moment's notice.

Having the items in an overnight supply pack makes a 24 hour caregiving shift more like being in my own home. This reduces stress and I can share an enjoyable time with the senior whom I am assisting.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

great information -- and I truly admire anyone willing to tackle this information and parlay it into a blog. God bless you.