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Helping the bedridden elderly is essential in navigating through life. As we grow old, we tend to lose mobility, which may lead to feelings of isolation. With the loss of mobility comes the loss of independence.

In this context, it is important to help empower the lives of our elderly loved ones. We can help our bed-bound patients in several ways. One must learn how to give a bed bath while maintaining dignity. Aside from that, we must know several hygiene and bedridden tips. Learning to take care of them while helping them maintain their dignity is essential.

1. Help them in Regularly Bathing

Routines are a fantastic way to structure a person’s daily life. As someone who craves stability, providing a set routine will help your parents well. If they still can, create a specific time to get them out of bed. If they can’t, I will teach you later how to give a bed bath. Older adults tend to get sadder when they are unclean. That’s why helping them bathe and keeping a schedule is vital.

2. Don’t Forget Oral Care

Aside from providing regular baths, it is also essential to remember oral care. You can help them maintain oral care by assisting them in brushing their teeth. Additionally, you can also help them floss their teeth and use mouthwash. Ensure that you create a routine to help them remember. Sometimes it’s the little things in our ways that keep us going.

3. Pay Attention to Skin Care

Another essential thing to consider is your elderly loved ones’ skin. Please always keep your parents’ skin clean, dry, and moisturized. It’s necessary always to check your parents’ or bed-bound patients’ skin. The reason for this is that people who have mobility issues are more prone to getting bed sores. Bed sores are injuries in your skin when you stay in the same position for a long time. When there is constant pressure in an area, pressure sores form. If you want to learn more about pressure sores, here is a helpful article.

 

4. Change Clothes and Bedding Always

One of the bedridden tips is changing clothes and bedding. Maintaining personal hygiene helps ensure that your loved one feels clean and comfortable. Aside from that, it also helps prevent dirt, odor, and sweat build-up. These are some of the sources of infection, so better prevent than cure. Another reason for this tip is that clean beddings avoid bedsores. When you change bedding regularly, it helps distribute pressure and reduce skin friction. Last, feeling fresh and clean improves a person’s mental well-being. When someone lacks mobility, minor changes in their routine have a significant impact.

 

Imagine being unable to do the routine tasks you never thought of before. Then afterward, you lose the ability to do these tasks independently. Helping your loved ones be able to care for themselves will boost their morale and mental being.

 

5. Help Them Clean Their Hair and Nails

 
If your elderly loved one can still use their upper body, let them cut their nails with supervision. This ensures that they can maintain their independence. When helping the bedridden elderly, help only in areas needed.

 

Try to do only some things for them. You might feel like you’re caring for them by doing that, but that’s not the case. They will lose their independence when you try to do everything for them. That’s why in things they are still capable of doing, let them do it. If you don’t mind me asking, you can only provide supervision to avoid any accidents that might arise.
 
 

 

How to Give a Bed Bath

 

If you’re elderly loved one lacks total mobility, here are some tips on how to give a bed bath.

 

When I was caring for my elderly loved one, I was able to start a routine beneficial for both of us, which I will share below.

 

A. Gather the Essentials

 

Please ensure all supplies are within reach when preparing for the bed bath. It will be hard to leave, which might lead to accidents. The usual collections include warm water, cleanser, towels, a basin, and washcloths. You may also need gloves when instructed by a healthcare professional.

 

B. Prepare the Room

 

Before starting, please make sure that the room is warm. Close all the windows and doors to prevent air from coming in. Also, place a towel under your loved one to prevent the bed from getting wet.

 

C. Provide Privacy and Dignity

 

When helping your loved one bathe, ensure that you close all windows. Ask them if they want a curtain or a screen for added privacy. Remember not to assume, and ask them for what they want. Including their opinion in every step will ensure that you maintain their dignity.

 

D. Prepare the Bath Water

 

A great way to test the temperature of the water is by using your elbows. If the water is warm, then that’s perfect for bathing.

 

E. Help Them Undress if Needed

 

Ask your loved one first if they need help in undressing. Ensure they are covered with a towel or blanket to provide privacy. Also, communicate with them throughout the process so they will feel comfortable.

 

F. Begin the Bath

 

Here in this part, it’s up to you and your loved one. Ask them where you should begin first. Communicate with them throughout the whole process. Ensure that you start with one area at a time. Also, use a separate washcloth per area to avoid cross-contamination.

 

G. Dry Skin Thoroughly

 

After bathing your loved one, ensure that you completely dry their skin. This will ensure that you prevent any bedsore or infection from happening. This will also prevent them from them feeling uncomfortable afterward.

 

H. Apply Moisturizer

 

After bathing, apply moisturizer to prevent chafing. Bedsores also form when there is constant skin friction. A way to avoid that is by applying moisturizer.

 

I. Help Them Dress

 

The keyword here is help. Never assume and do everything for your elderly loved one. If you do this, there is a tendency that they may lose their independence. Always help but never impose such help. Ask them if they need help, and provide support when asked. Even if it’s apparent that they need help, still ask them. This provides them with the feeling that everything is within their control.

 

6. Keep Their Area Clean

 
When caring for your elderly loved one, you should keep their area clean. We should dedicate only some of our focus to cleaning our loved ones while forgetting their environment. That’s why cleaning their rooms at least twice a week is essential. When cleaning their room, they shouldn’t be inside. If that’s impossible, you may opt for them to wear a face mask instead. This will ensure they will stay calm with the dust inside their room. To prevent dust accumulation, you may also opt to vacuum the room at least once daily to be safer. 

 

7. Keep Yourself Clean Too

When handling or going near your elderly loved one, always wash your hands first. After caring for them, also wash your hands. This will ensure you will not transfer bacteria to your elderly loved one. Since they are older, they are more prone to getting sick. That’s why we should practice proper hand care. Please remember this step. We can prevent most diseases by practicing the small steps that can help us in the long run.
 

 

8. Remember Regular Dental Check-Ups!

 
Getting regular dental check-ups is a must! Not only is it hygienic, but it will ease any unnecessary pain. Getting toothaches is already bad enough; imagine if you have it while bedridden!

 

Dental checkups will help in looking out for and maintaining dental health. A healthy set of teeth will ensure your elderly loved ones can eat well. The dentist may also help in keeping fillers or dentures!

 

Video Credit: @doctors-circle

Loss of Independence Negative Impact

According to the NCOA, depression in older people arises from decreased functional ability and reduced mobility. Both of these reasons have one thing in common – loss of independence. Providing our loved ones with the right amount of care is essential. But, while doing so, we should still help them maintain their independence.

When to Ask for Professional Help

 

Although you might want to care for your loved one alone, sometimes we need help too. When caring for your elderly loved one, you can seek help to learn how to care for them right. Another time to ask for help is when your elderly loved one has special needs you can’t care for alone. Last is when your loved one themselves prefers the care of a professional. Sometimes, we don’t want our loved ones to see us in a vulnerable state, hence the help of a professional.

 

Although we may feel hurt that our loved one wants to choose a stranger instead of us. Always remember that they still want to feel and be independent. The choice for their care should lie with them. Giving them the option to care for themselves helps them maintain independence.

 

 

Last Words on Helping the Bedridden Elderly

I hope you learned something from the article I wrote. Helping the bedridden elderly is not something difficult. It might sometimes be tiring, but remember you’re doing it for someone you love. If you have a problem caring for your loved one alone, ask for help. Employ the assistance of a professional to help care for your elderly loved one if needed. You can also ask for a professional to teach you so you can do it on your own. Always maintain communication with your loved one. Always ask for their input to help them without smothering them or deciding for them.

 

 

FAQs in Helping the Bedridden Elderly

How often should you change the clothes of a bedridden elderly person?

I would recommend changing their clothes at least once a day if you are living in a cold area. If you are living in a hotter area, it’s important to change more than once. A great rule of thumb is to change their clothes whenever it looks dirty or soiled.

How often should bedding be changed for a bedridden elderly person?

You should change the bedding at least every 1-2 days. But, more frequent changes may be necessary if the bedding becomes soiled, or wet, or if there are any signs of bedsores. That’s why it’s important to always look out for your parent daily.

Are there any signs I should look out for that may show a need for more frequent clothing or bedding changes?

Yes. Signs of sweating, foul odor, or visible soiling of clothes or bedding are some signs to look for. Please don’t let it get to the point that pressure sores are starting to form. It’s important to change bedding at least every two days.

When should I seek Professional Help?

You should seek professional help when you still feel uncertain about yourself. Asking for professional help at the start of your care for your loved one will help you learn from them the correct way to care for your elderly loved one. You should also seek professional help when your elderly loved one requires specialized care. Last, seek professional help when that is your loved one’s preference.

Embrace the Golden Age: Uniting Hearts, Caring for Bedridden Seniors

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