The first things to do

Things to know. In the early part of caregiving.

  1. Medication reminder box
  2. Room temperature
  3. A room with some activity (radio, TV, visitors, etc)
  4.  A clutter-free room

Tip number one really helps. My mom used a medication box, one box for each day of the week, so she would remember if she took her medication. When her dementia caused her to not be able to do that, I took over. It is a simple container but very useful.

Tip number two: Room temperature. Especially important when caregiving for an elderly person. I would keep the room temperature between 72-78 degrees F with 75-76 degrees F an ideal temperature. I kept a thermometer in the room instead of guessing if the temperature is comfortable. The caregiving room also had a wall air conditioning unit because the room was on the second story and a fan with a timer. (See photos.) The house did have central A/C and heating but the upstairs room got quite hot during warm weather. 

A word about feeding (more about feeding later). It can vary widely, from the patient who can cook and feed herself to having to cook and feed her to (at the last stage) using a feeding tube. Fortunately, many patients are able to eat and never need a feeding tube. This was not the case for me. I had to learn how to use a feeding tube. It took some getting used to but I did learn. I had to.

I fed my mom mostly basic, simple food. Easy to eat and digest. Oatmeal, pudding, ice cream, banana bread, etc. She could even eat pizza. She had dentures but she didn’t use them. I was concerned it might cause coughing or choking. This diet outlined above worked for many years until she required a feeding tube. More about that in the last chapter which will be titled “the end stage.”

This is a screen shot from a video I made feeding my mom.