Expert Advice

Will homemakers cook Asian food for my father? He’s very fussy.
If you work with an accredited homecare agency, you should be able to ask for a homemaker who is able to cook Asian food, especially if that is one of the requests you make when setting up care for your father. Is there someone who can teach the homemaker some of your dad’s favourite recipes? Is this something your father could do with the homemaker to keep him active?

How can I find trustworthy respite care? My family won’t participate in my mother’s care because she has a drinking problem. I need
a few weekends off and there’s no one to check on her.
You will need to honestly discuss your mum’s care with the supervisor of the home care agency that could offer publicly funded home care on an ongoing basis. Check with her doctor too for help to arrange care and get advice on how to handle any problem drinking. Can she be left alone with prepared meals and check in calls? It may be worthwhile trying to set up a family conference call or meeting to review options and potential solutions for you.

My aunt is very stressed about her inability to sleep at night. What tips can you suggest to help her?
Eighty per cent of the elderly report inadequate sleep. Many complain of sleep disturbances. Here are some suggestions to promote a healthier night-time.
• Establish a bedtime ritual.
• Avoid food, drinks and medications that contain caffeine late in the day.
• Avoid smoking cigarettes or reduce evening smoking.
• Avoid alcohol late in the day. Drink milk or chamomile tea, and eat a light snack prior to bedtime.
• Exercise during the day.
• Sleep in a room that is dark, cool and comforting.

 

Power of attorney rests with me for my dad and mom. But they keep changing their living and care plans. What should I do?
Firstly, are mom and dad both considered competent? Can they still make sound and reasonable decisions on their own? If the answers are yes, then, as frustrating as it may be, they can change their minds as often as they wish. Know that power of attorney for personal care does not put you in charge until your parents can no longer make safe decisions for themselves. Should that time come, be ready to demonstrate your POA status to physicians, nurses, homecare agencies, etc. For now… you might want to sit down with your mom and dad to explore what is behind the changes. Are they worried about their well-being? Has there been a health scare that they haven’t mentioned? Are they feeling overwhelmed with housekeeping and personal care duties? Perhaps a conversation with the two of them will help you understand their needs and feelings a little better and will ideally lead to more productive solutions.

The questions in this issue of Caregiver Solutions were answered by the experts at the Canadian Abilities Foundation and Canada Cares (www.canadianabilities.org).

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