Caring for the Elderly is a Different Ball Game Altogether – Here’s What You Should Know
By Space Coast Daily // December 9, 2019
If you have a relative or loved one that is elderly, or even if you plan on working in the medical field to tend to the elderly, then it’s important for you to know how much goes into it.
An informal caregiver is someone who provides unpaid assistance and care to an elderly person or any other individual who needs care.
An informal caregiver can be a spouse, a family member, or even a friend or neighbor. The majority of caregivers (82%) care for one other adult, while 15% for 2 adults, and 3% for 3 or more adults.
Caregivers who are responsible for caring for an old person needs to know that it is quite a challenging task. Yet, the more aware they are of aging and how it affects people, the better prepared they will be to care for loved ones.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when caring for a senior citizen and some duties that you might be responsible for.
Keep their dignity intact:
Obviously, the elderly person was once young and able to do everything on their own. As we grow old, the things we used to take for granted when young, like going to the bathroom, eating, getting dressed, or bathing, can become very difficult to do on our own.
It’s crucial that the gray-haired man/woman doesn’t feel humiliated in any way if they cannot manage these activities on their own. When acting as a caregiver, be patient, never snap at them and make them feel helpless, and know that you will often need to help in these matters at times that may not suit you.
The above-mentioned activities are fundamental to daily life. But there are other activities that need to be done that are considered just as important but not fundamental and these are instrumental activities of daily life.
They include running errands, preparing meals, managing money and bill payments, and shopping.
Not every aged person needs your undivided attention. There are plenty of elderly people who can carry out daily activities on their own, but might have limited physical mobility.
There is medical equipment that can help with this and some of these items are being offered at https://www.upliftingmobility.com such as walkers, rollators (walkers with 3 or 4 wheels), bath lifts, lift chairs, and more. Such items are designed for people with limited mobility, and, by having a needed item, they will feel more secure and stable when going about their normal business inside or outside the house.
A lack of mobility shouldn’t stop an old person from going out and enjoying their lives. Such medical equipment is made to help people who can still manage on their own, but need that little bit of extra help.
Convey their importance:
Physically, a major concern for senior citizens is falling and hurting themselves. Emotionally and mentally, one of the biggest fears is feeling marginalized.
Anyone with that thought would be prone to depression. You might not realize it, but the person you’re caring for might be feeling they’ve lost their purpose in life.
Even if it seems like every day is the same, it works wonders to ask about their day and how they feel. It is even more important to let them pass their past experiences onto you and others.
Their advice and knowledge can get you through a problem you’re going through, for instance. You can take out some old pictures of them and ask them what the occasion was during the time of the photo.
They may not remember what they had for breakfast that morning, but an aged person can remember an event 30 years ago. You’ll be hearing some wonderful stories about their life.
Keep them independent:
As long as you can, or actually as long as the elderly can, keep them independent. Give them the freedom to do what they can still do on their own and never treat them like children.
Don’t force them to do things your way. If there are found reasons to do something in a certain way, be gracious when trying to convince them.
The alternative to aging is never good, and while a senior in your household is physically and mentally healthy, you might not have the need to make many radical changes in your life.
Simply put, assess what that elderly person needs and provide that need for them. Remember that there are many advances in medical devices that will help the gray-haired friend live a dignified and happy life and make caring for them easier for you.