Advice for other caregivers


I guess that must have been maybe 4 years ago, and I was at the drugstore and I found a pill timer. It was a pill timer where you keep the pills in it and set the time up to 12 hours, I guess it is. And that was just a real feather in my cap because I could set it every 3 hours or 2½ hours and I could remember to give [my husband] his pills on time. So, this was making my life easier, because you can’t imagine how bad I would feel when he would bottom out… because he’s had Parkinson’s disease for 36 years, and so to give him his pills on time, every time, is really, really important, or he bottoms out; he can’t breathe, he can’t swallow properly.

What I do is I work with 5 timers now. So in the morning, when I wake up in the morning, I set all timers. I set it for 12 hours, 10 hours, 7½ hours, 5 hours and 2½ hours. And so, this way I stay on time every time. And it also makes a necklace; you can wear it around your neck. He goes to daycare at another facility as well. So I’m getting a break 3 times a week. And so I’m sending 2 of these pill timers with him in his bag because he can’t be trusted to take his pills properly because he drops them or he’ll just wind up taking them too soon because he doesn’t think. So, these 5 little pill timers are just wonderful, wonderful little things. In my life […] you wouldn’t think something small would make such a difference, but they make my life much, much easier to look after my husband with, and that’s what makes me happy.

The porta-potty beside his bed, what I do is I line that with a double garbage bag. I go to Save On Foods, and they’re small, size small kitchen bags. And the reason why I double line it with two bags is because sometimes one has a leak. And so, what I do is, in the morning, I put his—he wears women’s pull-ups, poise pull-ups—and I put the used one in the potty and that soaks up the urine. And then I use sani-wipes and I wipe over the potty really, really well for him. And then I’ve got the soiled diaper in there, and I just tie that just like you would in the morning for a baby—when you change the baby in the morning and you put the diaper in the garbage and that’s it. And then I put a new liner in and away we go.

The reason why I do it that way is because it makes my life easier. And it’s really important to use the Sani wipes so that you don’t get bladder infection. Bladder infection is very, very hard on my husband. It makes his dementia worse, and when his dementia gets worse, my life is hell for 2 weeks. You have no idea what I go through. So I just, I try to keep lots of fluids in him, and as far as his constipation problem, I have his psychiatric nurse to thank; she told me about the the recipe for fruit lax. […] The recipe is online by the BC Cancer Society, and it’s like a bag of figs, and a bag of prunes, and a bag of dried apricots, and a bag of raisins, and a great big bottle of prune juice. And you cook it up on the stove for an hour until you get it softened up, and then you put it in the food processer and that mushes it all up. And then I use these little Rubbermaid half cup serving containers, and it makes up maybe 12 of them. And I freeze them and I take them out one at a time. One will stay fresh up to 2 weeks, but of course [my husband] uses his up way before that, because he gets 2 big heaping tablespoons of fruit lax every morning.

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