Home Care Tips

Looking After Yourself

You are as important as your loved ones. The demands of caring for elderly parents, an ageing spouse, or a loved one, can put any caregiver in a stressful situation. Take time to care for yourself in the midst of caregiving duties. Doing so prevents caregiver burnout and improves your wellbeing.

Take Care of Your Health
  • Get enough sleep

  • Have proper and balanced meals

  •  Find time to exercise

Do Things You Enjoy
  • Spend time to do activities that you like

  • Pamper yourself


Have Self Compassion
  • Be kind to yourself

  • Give yourself credit for the efforts you have done

  •  Celebrate small victories

Be Self-aware
  • Know your limits

  • Find purpose and meaning in the things that you do

  • Learn to recognise signs of stress and reach out for help

Opening Up
  • Express your emotions by allowing yourself to cry or write down your thoughts

  • Talk to someone you trust to share your feelings

  •  Say yes when someone offers assistance 

Take a Break from Caregiving
  • Have some time away from caregiving

  • Take a rest to recharge yourself

  • Ask for help in certain errands, instead of shouldering them on your own

  • Use respite services
Remain Socially Connected
  • Participate in support groups

  • Meet up with friends and socialise

Have Humour
  • Find simple joys in your daily activities

 

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Seek Professional Help
  • Speak with a doctor or counsellor to help in coping with your emotions and caregiving stress




Skin care tips to prevent bedsores in long-term bedridden elderly

Severe bedsores can take months or even years to heal, so it is important to have the right nursing care skillsets to prevent bedsores. 

  • Wash immediately after urination and defecation.

  • Keep the skin moisturised by applying moisturizers or bedsore cream after washing. Do not use talcum powder as it dehydrates the skin and makes the skin more prone to damage.

  • Adequate nutrition promotes healthy skin. It is important to ensure that there is enough protein, vitamin C and zinc in the elder’s diet.

  • Dehydration makes our skin fragile and more prone to damage. In addition to the fluids we consume from food, it is recommended that we drink 6 to 8 glasses of water (1.5 litres) per day, unless otherwise advised by the healthcare provider.

  • It is recommended that the elder turns his/her body every two hours during the day and every five hours at night.

  • They can alternate between lying flat, lying to the left or lying to the right in different positions.
    • When lying flat, put a pillow beneath the heel to avoid pressurising the heel.
    • When lying on the side, place a pillow between their legs to prevent pressure from building up between their knees and ankles. If necessary, support their back with a pillow to maintain a side-lying position.

  • Remember to be gentle when turning the elder’s body. Avoid dragging, pulling, pushing and any other actions that could cause abrasion to the skin.

  • If the elder needs to remain sedentary for a long time, change his/her sitting position at least three times per hour to release the pressure on the body. Examples of sitting posture change:
    • Tilt to both sides
    • Lean forward and backward
    • If possible, support the body with both hands to lift the hips off the chair
    • If the elder rests his/her feet on a stool for a long time, remind them to lift their feet regularly to avoid pressure on their heels.
  • When turning or changing body positions, look for wrinkles, fine lines, and tubular folds on surfaces under the elder’s body (e.g., clothing, incontinence pads, sheets).

  • Keep the bed soft, flat and wrinkle-free, and the bedsheet clean, dry and free of crumbs to minimise skin irritation.

  • Use a pressure relief mattress

  • Put a small pillow or a cushion on the body parts that get easily pressed and rubbed.

  • Consult your healthcare provider on the right product/s to buy.
  • Check the elder’s skin at least once a day for pressure damage. Patients who must be bedridden or seated for long periods of time should have their skin checked every time they turn their body (at least once every 2 hours). If the patient is using medical equipment, remove or move the equipment at least once a day to check on the skin condition.

  • If you notice a change in the elder’s skin condition and suspect bedsores, consult the health care provider for early advice.

Rehabilitation techniques

Assist the elderly to sit up from bed

Here are some right techniques to help elders get up from the bed safely when they wish to move into a wheelchair.

Information & demonstration by physiotherapist Lim Beng Kooi

Getting up from the bed without help

If the bedridden elder has regained some strength, the elder can practise sitting up safely on his or her own. Not only would this reduce the burden of the caregiver, but also makes the elder more independent.

Common wrong postures:

Information & demonstration by physiotherapist Lim Beng Kooi

Helping the elderly to move from the bed to the wheelchair with a transfer belt

Frail elderly people who have mobility issues or are in an early recovering stage often have to move around in a wheelchair. However, it is not easy to help a person weighing tens of kilograms from the bed to the wheelchair as it may incur back pain or accidental strain on the caregiver or even result in a tragic fall for both. Caregivers may consult a medical staff before proceeding with the act. And when appropriate, use a transfer belt and other assistive devices to ensure the safety of both the caregiver and the elderly.

Common wrong postures:

Information & demonstration by physiotherapist Lim Beng Kooi

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Tzu Chi’s medical team’s mission is to “cure the body, the disease and the heart.” Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu-Chi, discovered in her charity work more than fifty years ago that “sickness is the cause of poverty,” so she set up free clinics followed by hospitals in Taiwan’s remote villages. Tzu Chi’s medical mission in Singapore has evolved over two decades, from the early days of providing free medical services in neighbouring countries to establishing a community medical network locally, providing Traditional Chinese and Western medicine treatments, dental treatments, rehabilitation treatments, home care services, home palliative services, and so on, without deviating from the original intention, which is to relieve the suffering of sickness and put smiles back onto people’s faces.