Diarrhea Solutions

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Diarrhea can happen to anyone. But when an elderly person contracts diarrhea they are at a greater risk of dehydration than the younger age group.

Here is a list of some of the possible causes of diarrhea in an elderly person:

  • Food poisoning
  • Malabsorption
  • Viral stomach flu
  • Medication

There may also be more serious conditions that can cause diarrhea in an elderly, and only a doctor will be able to assist. If you suspect something more serious than stomach flu, go straight to the doctor or ER.

When an elderly person starts with the first signs of diarrhea, fluids need to be replaced in the body almost right away. As diarrhea doesn’t only contain water, but also electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium, and bicarbonate) the person shouldn’t only drink water on it’s own. There is a solution that a person can make which will replace more than the water lost by the diarrhea or ask your pharmacist for a rehydrate solution.

Here is the recipe to make your own rehydrate electrolyte solution: 1 liter cooled boiled water, 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Give the electrolyte solution as often as possible during the duration of the diarrhea.

Diarrhea usually lasts up to 3 days, if it should last longer than that don’t hesitate to go to a doctor.

For at least a day after the symptoms have cleared, light meals are to be eaten. Just take it slowly.

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Tissue Salt no. 5

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It’s time for our next tissue salt…Kali mur. – Kalium Muriaticum

This tissue salt is a decongestant, a second stage inflammation reduce and a waste eliminator.

I need to add that I always used this when I got a cold and my nose and sinuses became very congested. It worked like a bomb. It’s more effective than pharmaceutical decongestants and without the side affects.

When you have the flu, your nose is all congested and there is a thick mucus discharge, your throat is sore, your eyes are having a discharge, your tonsils are swollen with pustules or you are experiencing crackling noises in the ears then Kali Mur is for you. Take 2 tablets every 20 minutes for 2 hours and slowly extending to every 3 hours.

If you are experiencing heartburn, burping, take 2 tablets 3 to 4 times a day.

Kali mur. aids the skeletal system and the joints in numerous ways. If you are experiencing backache, shoulder pains, stiffness and arthritis pains take Kali mur. to sooth the pain.

Information taken from Tissue Salts for healthy living by Margaret Roberts

 

Laughter is a Medicine

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I love the sound of people laughing and being happy. I can’t go through my day without laughter. Laughter is the best medicine in the world for the human body and the best thing about it is that it’s free. The human body cannot distinguish between a real laugh or a fake laugh. Laughter stimulates the motor region of our brain to become active and that produces the physical reaction – the sound of laughing.

Laughter has many health benefits:

Laughter boosts our heart rate.

Laughter boosts the production of certain antibodies that are responsible for boosting our immune systems.

Laughter reduces stress hormones – cortisol and epinephrine

Laughter releases endorphines which are responsible for relieving the body of physical pain.

Laughter protects the human heart by improving the function of the blood vessels and increasing the  blood flow. This will lower your risk of a heart attack and other heart problems.

Laughter can burn unwanted calories. 13 minutes of laughter burns around 40 calories.

Laughter can calm anger. It is the hardest benefit of laughter as one needs to laugh when they feel angry and that is not easy. Great news about the human body: it can’t distinguish between a real or fake laugh. So when you feel angry, fake laugh and you will start laughing for real and the anger will subside.

Laughter is great medicine for cancer victims. It has been noted that those suffering with cancer who laugh are able to cope better with pain and it provides them with a better sense of wellbeing.

 

Resourses:
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm
https://www.medicalbag.com/lifestyle/laughter-therapy-shown-to-boost-immune-function-in-cancer-patients/article/472627/
https://www.sciencealert.com/watch-here-s-what-happens-to-you-brain-when-you-laugh

 

 

Encouragement

This article is an encouragement article. We all go through periods where we feel like caring for another person is too much for us to handle any more. You are not alone with that feeling. Trust me, there have been days where I wonder if I should change my career choice, but that feeling doesn’t last long. 

When those feelings threaten, go take a walk and breathe in fresh air. Walk briskly.

Or you can listen to music in the next room. Close the door, put the music on a loud volume and just let it wash over you.

If you are feeling sleep deprived, take a nap when the person you are caring for has their nap, or if a neighbour could come over for an hour so that you can get a little snooze.

If you are a religious person, taking some time for being alone and reading your literature or taking a time to pray will really benefit you.

And simple measures, like having a cup of coffee outside or in your room, watching a movie and even reading a book in bed at night will really help you to start feeling positive about your duties. 

Foot massages are an excellent way to de-stress and relax. It is amazing how our bodies need that little TLC on occasion. 

As a carer of another person, we tend to forget about our wellbeing and refueling ourselves. We can’t give love and care to someone else if we don’t feel loved or cared for. And if there is no one to love us or care for us, we need to do it for ourselves. You can’t give if you have nothing to give.

Your responsibilities are great but they reap great rewards. You are doing a great job so don’t give up. You are needed in the other person’s life and you might not be thanked by them, but you are so valuable.

Good job to all the carers, caregivers, companions and nurses in the world. You are needed in a special way that no one else can fulfill.

 

 

Basic Lifting Advice

All of us have to at one time or another needed to lift or transfer a person. Whether we have had to move a person up in the bed, transfer from the bed to a chair, we are going to need to lift the weight. Don’t lift alone if it can be helped. But sometimes we do need to lift and we are alone. I am going to give you some tips on how to lift in the correct way and not hurt yourself.

First things: If the person is very heavy, being uncooperative or in a difficult position, don’t try to lift alone. Ask a neighbour to help or a friend.

Right, let us start on the lifting techniques:

Always lift with your knees.

Don’t bend at the waist.

Don’t ever twist your spine when lifting or carrying a person.

Your feet need to be kept shoulder width apart.

The leg muscles are the best muscles to use when lifting or pulling.

Keep the person who is being lifted close to your body.

How do you sit a lying person up in bed? Let me explain:

Bend the knees of the laying person. Place the crook of your arm in the armpit of the person you are wanting to lift. With the other hand, support behind the head. Let the person hold onto your arm and then slowly sit the person up and pop a pillow in behind the back and neck.

How do you transfer a person from the bed to the chair?

Sit the person on the edge of the bed so that their feet are flat on the floor. Place your one knee in between the knees of the person you are wanting to lift, and you other knee on the outside of the knees of the person you are lifting (it will be 1 your knee, 1 patient knee, 1 your knee and then 1 patient knee). Ask the elderly person to hold you around your neck with both of his/her hands. You need to hold the elderly person around the waist and interlock your fingers at their back. Remember not to twist your spine! Bend at the knees and lift the person up and slowly swing them until they are directly in front of the chair they are going to sit on. Slowly let the person sit down.

There are a few equipment that will make lifting and transfers easier for you. And some can be found in the house.

Transfer boards – a board that is smooth, thinner wood and has a grip on the ends. This board allows you to slid a person from one piece of furniture to another with minimal lifting.

Lifting/transfer belt – this belt takes the weight of the person being lifted, off your body.

Hoists are a little pricey, but these aid in lifting a person from almost any position and it can also be useful with bathing a lame person.

 

Pressure sores

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Pressure sores (bedsores), are the 2 words I hate hearing in my line of work. Pressure sores mean poor nursing care for health-care trained persons. Though not all cases are due to bad nursing, but rather indicate that a person hasn’t been educated about them. I fully understand if you are new to the home care situation and a pressure sore formed on your elderly patient. I am going to walk you though how pressure sores form and how they look and how to avoid them.

Firstly what are pressure sores? Just like the name – pressure sores form when pressure is applied to an area of the body for a prolonged time.

They form in the pressure point areas where your bones are close to the skin: ankles, heels, sacrum, hips, shoulders, back of the head, ears, elbows, and even the knees.

If a person is left to lay in wetness, or in a bed with crumbs or with creases, pressure sores will also form in the above mentioned areas.

Pressure sores form very quickly in the elderly as the skin is thin and breaks easily.

Bedridden, immobile, wheelchair users, over weight persons and the elderly are at a high risk of pressure sore formation.

How to avoid pressure sores from forming, a few measures need to be taken…

Keep the skin clean and dry. Use cream for dry skin and if possible use water-based cream.

Dress the person in zipper and button free clothing. And try to dress the person in loose fitting, lightweight clothing.

Avoid creases and crumbs in the bed.

Change the person’s position regularly – every hour if possible, though in nursing homes it is not always possible to do so and every 2 hours positions might get changed.

Sweat and body fluids will also create pressure sores. Ensure the bed is always dry.

Cotton bedding is the best for bedridden persons as sweat will be absorbed and try to avoid plastic bed protectors and rather use waterproof cotton protectors.

And use pillows to lift and support pressure point areas.

How will you know if a pressure sore is forming?

The area where there was pressure will be red. As pressure is constantly applied the area will become an open sore and eventually it will become a hole where you will be able to see the bone underneath. This is the last stage of a pressure sore. The skin will be black in the area and there might be a nasty smell. When a pressure sore is suspected, call on your doctor and he will advise you on how to go forward. But there is a way for you to halt the pressure sore forming into a huge sore.

When you see the redness of the pressure area/s that the person was laying on or pressing on, then change the position and rub gently a little water-based cream onto the area. The redness will disappear.

Remember: you are doing your best, and if a pressure sore should form – well you did your best and you need not be hard on yourself. In the nursing world one can never know it all. We always learn new things every day. Keep up the good work and your efforts will be rewarded.

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Carer Hygiene

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As a carer, one tends to be so focused on the wellbeing and hygiene of our patients that our own hygiene and self care is neglected. It is very important to maintain correct personal hygiene of ourselves at all times. This is for the benefit of our patient and ourselves.

I do understand that the patient may take up almost our whole day and night – especially if we live with the patient due to them being our family member. But take time for yourself.

You don’t need to spend hours in the bathroom or in front of a mirror, simple hygiene techniques may be followed to obtain a good, clean and fresh carer. I hope that I don’t offend anyone and if you are offended by what I am going to say, that is not my aim. I have also had to change some of my outfits to suit the job I do.

Here is what I am talking about:

  • This is a touchy subject with some people, but I am all for it: keep your hair short. This allows for quick washing and easy drying. I am not saying all of you need to cut your hair, but if it is taking a long time to give it the best care and keep it clean cutting it to a modest shorter length might be the answer. I cut mine short as I wasn’t able to look after my hair the way it needed. But it’s all personal preference. No offense meant.
  • A quick shower or wash every evening before climbing in bed will be the easiest way to keep clean and fresh. Bathing is very important for the body. It helps to promote healthy skin. A dirty carer will not be pleasant to the patient and it may cause problems for both the carer and the patient.
  • Oral hygiene is also very important. Good oral hygiene promotes healthy gums and teeth. Bad breath is not pleasant for others.
  • Go natural with make-up. It looks very pleasant and it is a lot easier to apply if any at all.
  • If you injure yourself and have an open wound on your hands or arms,cover them with a band-aid or bandage. This will keep micro-organisms from entering the wound and that your patient doesn’t come into contact with your body fluids (blood).
  • Keep your nails short and clean. Dirt under the nails can easily cause infection if a person is scratched. Shorter nails reduce the risk of scratching others.
  • Hand washing is so important! It is the first line of defense. Don’t forget to wash your hands before you even start working with a person. If you touch a person or any of their belongings, you need to wash your hands before doing anything else.
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The carer needs to ensure that their dress code is suitable for the job that they are doing:

  • Avoid low rise necklines.
  • Avoid heels.
  • Avoid short and tight fitting skirts.
  • Avoid long earrings.
  • Avoid nail polish. Micro-organisms collect under the polish and it may cause infections if they come into contact with an open wound.
  • Avoid non-slip shoes.
  • Avoid bracelets and rings.
  • Avoid having long nails.
  • Avoid facial rings – it can hook and disfigure you. I have had to fight the urge to get a nose ring.

I can’t think of anything else to add to my list at this time.

Just remember you are caring for another human being. It is a great, rewarding job. You might feel that you can’t do or wear what you would like, but if it weren’t for you giving up all of that a person would be left to suffer alone without the help and care that they need. Keep up the good work. I know how it feels, I am in the same profession as you.

 

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