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Simple tips to make life easy

(65 Posts)
kittylester Thu 01-Oct-20 08:41:00

The Alzheimer's Society run courses for Carers of people living with dementia which I help to deliver.

One of our sessions is about looking after yourself (the Carer) and making life easier.

Do you have any tips I can pass on?

We talk about employing a cleaner, gardener, ironing service and mention using frozen veg, take away etc. Most of the people who come on our courses are eligible to claim attendance allowance so maybe have a little spare money.

Some, especially the men, are surprised that such things as frozen roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, rice, mash exist.

Do you have any tips or specific products you can recommend for our Carers to make life easier?

MawB2 Thu 01-Oct-20 09:03:16

Remembering how “invaded” I thought I would feel when we had six weeks of carers for Paw and I really resisted -for all of 24 hours, then welcomed them with open arms - I would say take all help offered and somehow “ring fence” some time of your own by using sitters/carers anybody.
I do agree using laundry services can take a load off the practical side.

Charleygirl5 Thu 01-Oct-20 09:16:48

It is a lovely idea having a cleaner and/or a gardener but it is the sheer cost. Even a takeaway is not cheap these days and one I would think is on a limited amount of money. Life is not easy.

I would think that "me" time is very important to keep sane.

Teetime Thu 01-Oct-20 09:25:36

When I was a DN I used to recommend that carers always have something to look forward to for themselves so have something regular in the diary like a back massage or a pedicure - sore backs and aching feet are exhausting. You can get a visiting therapist if you cant get out. Money well spent.

B9exchange Thu 01-Oct-20 09:30:22

If you are caring for someone with a life limiting illness, do make use of your local hospice. They look after families too, and can provide counselling and all sorts of complementary therapy to carers, as well as financial advice.

silverlining48 Thu 01-Oct-20 09:32:36

Don’t beat yourself up if you feel You haven’t been patient enough, practical advice is helpful but it’s the emotional stuff which is as important to talk about. The guilt the resentment and irritation sometimes is excusable and understandable. We do our best but we are human and fallible.Forgive yourself and remember what a good job you are doing.

kittylester Thu 01-Oct-20 10:00:37

We do always say that our Carer's should take all help offered and should use a sitting service (in normal times) and to just go out.

As I said in the op, most of them will be entitled to AA (which is not means tested) and is worth about £50 per on the basic level. This can also allow a reduction in Council Tax so the money shouldn't be an issue really.

I was hoping people could suggest simple everyday things that make life less of a chore.

For instance one of our lovely men Carer's was amazed with what he found in the freezer section of the supermarket. He had dismissed it as 'all frozen ready meals'.

I'm hoping to compile a list of suggestions.

kittylester Thu 01-Oct-20 10:02:01


Don’t beat yourself up if you feel You haven’t been patient enough, practical advice is helpful but it’s the emotional stuff which is as important to talk about. The guilt the resentment and irritation sometimes is excusable and understandable. We do our best but we are human and fallible.Forgive yourself and remember what a good job you are doing.

Very important silverlinings!! We say this at every single session.

GirlyGran Thu 01-Oct-20 10:04:27

Enrol with a carers centre. Lots of local info, opportunities to meet other carers, advice on benefits , complementary therapies. Amazing staff too.

Athenia Thu 01-Oct-20 10:05:16

Most important is a saying that I learnt on a parentingcourse: you can't pour from an empty jug. It is essential to arrange for time to renew your strength, every day. And also, don't even try to be perfect. Just be good enough. We are fallible human beings, and aiming for perfection is exhausting.
Your suggestion of paying for help with cleaning, gardening etc. is excellent.
Best wishes with your course.

Glenfinnan Thu 01-Oct-20 10:12:02

A lesson I learned when DH was ill was to get rest and time to meet up with friends. If you feel ok yourself you are a better carer. Love to all in this situation

Izabella Thu 01-Oct-20 10:18:54

Many of you know that I have Alzheimers. My CH has gained so much support from the local carers association. They are a fountain of knowledge and have signposted us to other services.

Everyday things he recommends: keep a filing system of correspondence, keep a 'hospital ready' bag packed for the unexpected and make sure someone else knows how to access it. Appoint a trusted keyholder or install a keysafe, stock the freezer, ensure GP and other medics will share the PWD's medical information with you, enlist a hairdresser and foot therapist for home visits, find a trusted trader for urgent appliance repairs, never neglect your own health. Don boxing gloves to fight your corner.

He will come back with any other things.

MissAdventure Thu 01-Oct-20 10:24:03

Kylie sheets!
A lot of people aren't aware of them, and they can save an absolute mountain of washing.

Pinkshoes26 Thu 01-Oct-20 10:26:39

I bought a white shower mat to blend in with my white bath. It makes me more confident when having a shower standing in a bath tub. I had a glass screen put in. Much nicer than the old style shower curtain. 2 corner shelfs on the wall for body wash and shampoo. I have an over the door Hook bar In my bathroom and find it so useful. It has a travel bag hanging and a useful pocket hanging thing. This saves on clutter on the shelves.

JANH Thu 01-Oct-20 10:29:01

You definitely need time to yourself, also respite care is important if caring is ongoing. What about the disabled person going to a day centre, if appropriate. When my parents were elderly, we made meals and soup for them , froze everything and then transported it to their own freezer. Dad, who was my mother’s carer, was thrilled that he longer had to think about shopping and cooking. The carers who were eventually employed, thought it was a great idea and it saved them a lot of work, also.

Illte Thu 01-Oct-20 10:31:00

Things I learned too late 😳

Have a waterproof sheet on the bed.

The bedside water (for you and them) in a screw top sports drink bottle

A battery operated bedside light not a plug in one

Foam pillows you can wash and dry not feather ones

Those children's bowls with a non slip base for porridge or other breakfast cereal.

A washable rug over the carpet beside the bed.

You see where this is going😱

I can look back on it now more phlegmatically.

Can I also recommend that wonderful book

The Selfish Pigs Guide to Caring

tanith Thu 01-Oct-20 10:34:14

I too had carers come in for the DHs last month they would arrive and tell me to disappear for an hour. I would take a walk and stop at the cafe or McDonalds for a cappuccino and watch the world go by for a while and go back feeling better. Always have a little me time.

annsixty Thu 01-Oct-20 10:34:52

I had forgotten the Kylie sheets, they are indeed a life/ laundry saver.
Tell them ironing is time wasted.
I bought my H several pairs of jogging tops and bottoms from M&S.
In the washer after he went to bed, over the landing overnight and he had lots of clean clothes for the day to come.

Something maybe not necessary for others but one of my best purchases was a reclining chair and foot stool.
My H was very comfortable and would doze off, that would be my time to either do a few chores or put my own feet up.
As I said not applicable for many but invaluable to me.

annsixty Thu 01-Oct-20 10:44:12

An afterthought.
If finance is not a problem buy incontinence wear instead of the ones provided free, they did not work for us.
Good quality pull-ups which tear down each side for removal save a lot of hassle and give a tiny bit of dignity for the wearer.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 01-Oct-20 10:49:18

My cousin looked after her father for some years. He had Alzheimer's. She found the most helpful thing was having someone coming in once a week to sit with her father so she could have an afternoon to herself.

LovelyLady Thu 01-Oct-20 10:52:30

What are Kylie Sheets?

Izabella Thu 01-Oct-20 11:14:47

GirlyGran Thu 01-Oct-20 11:15:44

I know it can be a touch more expensive but when I am pushed for time I use packets of ready chopped onions and carrots.

Illte Thu 01-Oct-20 11:25:35

I found that favourite music playing in the background most of the day was much enjoyed.

The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel in our case.

Not the television or the radio. Too stressful trying to work out what the voices were saying. But familiar words and tunes. Lovely.

Flossieturner Thu 01-Oct-20 11:54:45

I would recommend that careers have the post redirected to their own home. That way they can deal with things immediately . They won’t have to rely on the haphazard filing system of their relative. Also they can check that there is no financial abuse. My stepfather was paying a ridiculous amount for insurance for things he no longer owned.

I also advise trying to get an advocate to intercede when the relative is being stubborn. Quite often people take more notice of someone outside the family.