A growing number of elderly folk have acquired issues with their mobility and health, which makes them dependent on the care and assistance of others. Some struggle with their declining mental wellness and therefore, experience problems with coordination or with their motor skills.
Amidst all of these, the elderly have to deal with other inconveniences too like not being able to do the things they liked to or and not having the freedom they did when they were younger.
As a family member offering to care for our elderly loved ones, or perhaps as a health worker assigned to care for an elderly patient, it’s important to be aware of the do’s and don’ts of caring for our elderly clients or loved ones.
DO: incorporate ways to make them feel independent
Elderly people are known to want to do everything by themselves even if their physical states don’t allow them to. As their designated caregiver, although it’s your job to make things easier and accessible for them, this doesn’t mean that you have to rob them of their dignity. Sometimes, if the task permits, you can find ways to simply enable them to complete a task on their own but with a little help from you.
One way you can achieve this is by installing walk in bathtubs for seniors or voice-control personal assistants that are connected to the lights, doors, and speakers that your elderly client or loved one can use themselves. By allowing them to do some tasks without so much assistance, you can make them feel independent and boost their self-esteem.
DO: consider yourself as the senior’s friend and confidant
When caring for someone, it’s important that you consider yourself as the elderly person’s friend. When you look at them as just a client or perhaps just a relative, you’re wasting the opportunity to provide them with genuine care and understanding. It’s easier to understand when an aging loved one or client goes through mood swings.
DON’T: meddle in their personal affairs
Although this contradicts the first point which involves being a friend and a confidant, if you’re a caretaker who was assigned to your client, then boundaries should be put in place. It’s good to carry a conversation with the senior you’re taking care of because it nurtures your relationship with them and helps with their motor skills. But refrain fro meddling with personal things like issues with their family, finances, and other issues. You may become a part of the elderly person’s life but your duty should start and end with providing care.
DON’T: forget, they’re human too!
If you’re taking care of someone over a long period of time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that they’re human. When taking care of a senior citizen, don’t forget that they aren’t just their illness or what they lack. They’re human too, in need of kindness and respect regardless of the fact that they may not be able to do things by themselves.
The best thing you can do as a caretaker is to improve an elderly’s life quality. It’s not enough to do everything for them and give them their basic needs. There’s more to fulfill as a caretaker and it’s your job to truly understand your elderly client in order to give them what they truly need.