Personal care items every family caregiver should know about – So why don’t we?

Keeping It REAL Caregiving Product Watch

*Note: The following is an excerpt from a post to the Keeping It REAL Caregiving newsletter. The information, however, is worth sharing in various forms if it can help you or someone you love.*

I would like to take this opportunity to share a consideration with you that you may have never thought about – pressure sores. Or – more commonly referred to as bed sores.

I know, I know. This may not be a topic you want to even think about. Hear me out on this one. Understanding this rarely talked about reality could literally be a matter of life or death.

If you are a family caregiver, understanding everything you can about bed sores is critical. It is a case of ‘The more you know,’ on many levels.

Personal experiences

During my time caring for my mother, I had some experience with bed sores. At less than 100 pounds and frail, and no longer able to walk on her own, my mother was either sitting in her recliner, wheelchair, or lying in bed for the most part of each day.

The appearance of a bed sore did not happen until Miss Nellie was no longer under my 24/7 watch, but rather in a care facility.

*Note: The facility in question did a good job of caring for my mother. I was a pain in their butts all the time, keeping a close watch and being a hands-on advocate. Even so, I could not be there all the time to provide the kind of care she had received at home.

The bulk of what little body weight she had, pressed her tailbone against surfaces. That caused the skin to chafe. That caused an open sore.

REAL talk


But imagine, how much more unpleasant an open and painful sore is for the individual. Now consider this: that open sore is much more likely to lead to infections, which can then lead to even more complicated medical issues, such as sepsis.

In my case, I constantly worried about my mother. I was frustrated and angry a sore appeared on her tailbone. Simply seeing her skin chafe in that way told me she was likely not being moved, turned, or lifted up and re-positioned from her chair or bed often enough.

That feeling of helplessness was overwhelming. It literally would make me feel sick to my stomach, fearing I was letting my mother down – not fully caring for her.

Part of my way of coping, was to also learn what I could about bed sores. I asked my mother’s doctor how to prevent this from happening. I sought out products I had never heard of before. I can’t help but wonder, why don’t we see commercials for these items?

  • Barrier cream. I found one particular product to be the most effective, however there are several available at local drugstores or online.

  • Specialty pillows (to wedge behind or beneath her bottom to lessen the pressure).

  • Hospital-grade protective bandages. A nurse told me about this particular item, but only AFTER I saw nurses using them in the hospital. The information was not offered up in advance. I then ordered some for personal use. This specific item is somewhat pricey – just a heads up!



Sadly, when it comes to caregiving, as I like to say, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know.’ Because of that, it is often the case that by the time you realize something unhealthy is happening, individuals are scrambling to mitigate, or to change course.

Need more convincing? Keeping It REAL Caregiving recently interviewed a professional gerontologist who also served as a family caregiver to his grandmother. Hear his personal story of how bed sores played a role in his grandmother’s death and the mission he is now on to raise awareness. He does NOT want this to happen to anyone else.


Visit the Keeping It REAL Caregiving video archives to watch interviews with family caregivers and experts within the field of aging!

To learn more, check out these related articles and information