When I was in my 20s my grandmother moved in with my parents. My mom was the first "caregiver" I ever knew. This was in the late 70s and early 80s, which was way before I had ever heard or used the term "adult caregiver." Although the lexicon has changed, not a lot in the caregiver's world has changed in the last 30 years or so. My mother still struggled with picking my grandmother up after falls, developed aching knees from running up and down the stairs so often and did as many loads of laundry, if not more, than when my brothers and I were just out of diapers. Ahh, adult diapers! My mother was so diligent about keeping my grandmother dry and on a regular bathroom schedule, she never once used diapers with my grandma, although that's not to say she didn't have to clean up after the occasional accident (see loads of laundry comment above).
This brings me to the main point of this post: As the years passed, and my grandma became bedridden, my mom's house began to smell more and more like the nursing homes where I occasionally visited my great aunts and uncles. My mom was always good about letting the house "air out" when the weather was nice, but aside from that and the post accident spray of Lysol, there really didn't seem to be that much you could do about that nearly constant scent that permeated the house. This however, is one areas where things HAVE made significant improvements over the years. We all know about all the Renuzit and Febreze type products out on the market that are effective at making the room smell better for just a little bit. Some of these products even have strong claims about even eliminating pet odors and the like, but every one of these common household product simply mask human biological odors, and only for a short time. The big breakthrough on the market are the new "odor eliminators" which actually destroy the biological bacteria in the air that causes the unpleasant odor that you have in your house if you are caring for a loved one on a regular basis. These Odor Eliminators are not easy to find outside of the inpatient hospital environment, but I'm told you can now find them in some larger pharmacies and online. Many of these non-aerosol products like Medi-Aire, Chester AprilFresh, Dignity Spray and Hex-On chemically eliminate odors associated with urine, feces, emesis and necrotic (dead) tissue. Some of these products are scented and some are not, but they all succeed by chemically eliminating airborne odors for hours with only a spray or two from a small pump-spray, non-aerosol bottle. I like the Medi-Aire product because it comes in lemon, fresh air and unscented versions and the one-ounce size is really handy to hide in a couple different rooms of the house.
So take heart caregivers! Some things haven't changed much in the last few years but some things have and if anything can make it easier on you in your effort to keep mom or dad at home, I for one believe you owe it to yourself to lighten your burden . . . even if it's just in the air! So we'd like to know, have you had any experiences using these products in your home?