Does the person you care for seem to “run out of gas” quickly, even when doing simple things around the house? Help your family member learn to conserve energy—physical energy—so he or she has enough “fuel” to enjoy special activities and to exercise according to doctor’s orders.
It’s a simple strategy
Consider that there’s a limited amount of energy each day. If your relative is careful how energy is used for the routine tasks in life, he or she will have enough left over for necessary exercise and life’s pleasures.
Planning and pacing
Plan for the entire day and pace activities. Encourage your loved one to
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- Allow ample time
Planning ahead allows for a more leisurely pace. Rushing wastes energy.
- Alternate activity with rest
Divide large chores into smaller tasks spread across the day or week.
- Work smarter
Minimize trips up/down stairs. Shop with a list and in as few stores as possible. Cook in quantity and freeze the extra. Soak dishes first for less scrubbing later. After a bath, slip on a terrycloth bathrobe instead of drying with a towel.
- Get help when you can
Have medications and groceries delivered.
Throughout the day, there are many opportunities to reduce standing, walking, lifting, and bending:
- Sit down whenever possible
When cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, or grooming face and hair, have a stool or seat handy.
- Create task stations
Lay out supplies at waist height so everything is within easy reach before you start cooking, cleaning, bathing, or dressing.
- Wheel or wear; don’t fetch
Use a cart on wheels, a walker with a basket, a pocketed apron, or a fisherman’s vest to keep supplies at hand.
- Use extensions
To avoid bending and reaching, use a grabber for objects, an elevated toilet seat, and elongated handles on shoehorns, brushes, and dustpans.
What changes can you make to conserve your relative’s energy?
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