Products to Ease Caring for Terminal Elderly Mother
December 10, 2021 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend any products you have found helpful when caring for a person at the end of life.

Direct links to products on Amazon and as specific as possible w/r/t brand, type, etc., please. Liver disease, incontinence, frailty, failure to thrive, early stage Parkinson's. It may be that we already have some of the recommended products, but anything you list here might be useful to others, so I am keeping it wide open.
posted by hiker U. to Shopping (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Bells that attach to bed, walker, etc. (marketed as "doggie doorbells") so that you're aware when she's trying to move around.

Large washable bed pads. Disposable ones are probably more convenient for some folks, this worked well for my setup. One nice thing about the reusable ones is that you can use them to help with positioning someone in bed if they're unable to get themself comfortable (one person picks up the pad on either side like a little hammock).
posted by mskyle at 7:25 AM on December 10, 2021 [6 favorites]


Best answer: Motion lights. Don't need to turn on all the lights when up in the night.

Also, for awhile my MIL was getting out of bed. The Motion lights triggered by her movement, were just enough light to disturb FIL so he'd wake up to help her.

Any of these look about right


And an adult fidget. MIL liked velcro in particular, but again anything like this

Fidget mat

We did have a 5lb weighted one but she hated it. So we just traded for a light one with lots of textures.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:34 AM on December 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: If your mother is terminal and at home (in the USA), is she signed up for home hospice services? Hospice assists with all these end-of-life concerns and support the patient (and the patient's family) to be most comfortable at home. Hospice was able to loan my mother things like a hospital bed, commode chair, oxygen machine, etc. When it was time for incontinence pads/underwear, they brought over a big sack of different brands to try. You get the idea.
posted by stowaway at 7:41 AM on December 10, 2021 [13 favorites]


Best answer: From when my dad was in home hospice: Extra sheets. We had 3 sets of soft, twin-sized white cotton sheets that fit the hospital bed and we would wash and refresh them regularly just as a point of hygiene. Having clean and fresh bedding and fresh sleepwear was a true pleasure for him. Another unexpected pleasure for him were the scented oils that we'd use to massage his hands and legs. He was a quiet and stoic sort of career military man, so this was new for him. It felt, in a way, like a kind of anointing.
posted by mochapickle at 8:15 AM on December 10, 2021 [16 favorites]


Best answer: incontinence,

the kind of paper towels that don't fall apart when you soak them in water. They replace fabric towels and hand cloths for dealing with particularly egregious messes.

disposable rubber gloves
as well.

Neither of these are what you'd call environmentally friendly but they became indispensable for a prolonged while. There comes a time when you need to weigh your priorities. You'll know when.

Also, a good commode is worth keeping on hand. This kind worked well for us and also served as a raised toilet seat. Just remove the bucket and slide it in directly over the toilet. In fact we used it mostly as a toilet seat (far more stable than the riser kind that actually mounts on the toilet). Then when mobility became a greater concern, it saved a lot of complicated maneuvering. With the bucket now re-inserted, of course.
posted by philip-random at 9:00 AM on December 10, 2021 [3 favorites]


Best answer: Oh and speaking of non-environmentally-friendly but very very helpful, if you're going to use a commode-with-bucket, Commode Liners (I don't have a specific brand to recommend, they sell them at Walgreens/CVS/etc.). A small trash bag with a couple of paper towels in it would also do the job.
posted by mskyle at 9:10 AM on December 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Cetaphil moisturizing cream was extremely appreciated by my late cousin while she was in hospice (breast cancer & Parkinson's). Her skin would dry out pretty badly and she had no tolerance at all for scents. The thick cream base of Cetaphil was recommended by her doctor and it really helped. It's also non-comedogenic, so it doesn't block pores. We would rub it into her hands, arms, and feet when we visited and it was both a way to provide her some reassuring human contact/a mild massage and a longer-lasting way to repair her dried-out skin than any standard lotion.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:15 AM on December 10, 2021 [3 favorites]


Best answer: In addition to the paper towels, Lysol Dual Action wipes have one surface that's ever so slightly abrasive which helps a lot when cleaning surfaces.

Wedge pillows or even a whole-mattress wedge
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:20 AM on December 10, 2021


Best answer: Mouth sponges

Bone broth - this was helpful for keeping my mom's salt and protein up, and some liquid in her, before she started refusing.

Rinseless body shampoo

Wyze Camera (for our peace of mind)

Hospice provided the first two, along with a hospital bed, and bed pads (we also liked the reusable ones), depends, a walker, a wheelchair, a bedside commode, a riser for the toilet, bars for the shower, and medications of all types. All of these things arrived seemingly overnight and whenever we asked, even the morphine. It was so helpful. Happy to chat more about that particular aspect if you'd like.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:22 AM on December 10, 2021


Best answer: If your relative is doing any of her own self-care or still mobile, there are a million products out there that can help people with hygiene and minor mobility:
back scrubbers, bidet, lotion applicators, swivel seat cushions for the car, long handled shoehorns, button hooks
Walker baskets can be helpful for carrying stuff.

Unscented lotion and high quality lip balm are great--folks at end of life often don't drink much and have dry lips, and fragile skin. Mouth sponges can be good too.

If she likes music or audiobooks, having a bluetooth speaker nearby and a way to make some selections (tablet with Spotify?)

Finally, if you're engaged with hospice and medication for pain or anxiety is on the table, don't hesitate to use it.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 4:34 PM on December 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Pressure relief mattress topper that inflates and deflates in alternativing cells - helps prevent bed sores and makes staying in bed for hours, if not all day.
posted by metahawk at 10:21 PM on December 10, 2021


Best answer: A bed rail if she has problems getting in or out of bed. You can make your own our of PVC for less than half of buying it online but the height won't be adjustable. It helps prevent falls. It can be very tough to get someone on their feet from off the floor, especially if they out weigh you.

Bed Assist Rail
posted by stray thoughts at 10:28 PM on December 11, 2021 [1 favorite]


I can't recommend a gait belt enough. The one I use with my dad cinches around his waist, and has six loops around the sides and back for me to grasp while helping him stand, steadying him while he walks (he loves that use - he walks more confidently with my hand in a loop), and helping him sit or lay down.

Foam wedges of various sizes. A small one behind his back helps him sit upright to eat, a large one can elevate his feet or knees in bed.
posted by Vigilant at 3:50 AM on December 13, 2021


I am sure this is something you have already dealt with, and/or perhaps it's past that point, but if your relative doesn't have a living will and is still in a position to create one, I would pursue that as soon as is possible.
posted by Mchelly at 12:24 PM on December 13, 2021


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