A Guide To Caring For The Elderly

 When caring for the elderly, it is important to take into account the different individual care preferences and requirements.  If you work as a care worker in the health and social care setting, or are volunteering in a similar situation, it is recommended that you take the Health and Social Care (Adults) QCF course.

 1.  Person-Centered Care Is A Priority


Each older person must be seen as an individual, and this is how they should be treated - as a person with their own preferences and the right to express their opinions.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to cater to all the unique requirements of each individual person as time is rarely on the side of the care worker.  However, it is important that you remember some elderly people, who do not have much to occupy their time, will find the smaller annoyances magnified.  In these cases, the smallest thing can make the greatest difference; therefore, if the carer has the time, they should attempt to listen to each person and build a rapport with the one they are caring for.

2.  Dignity Is Essential When Working With The Elderly

Life does not become any easier as a person ages.  Many older people experience pain, boredom, loneliness, and sadness.  Dignity is easily compromised at this age, particularly if the person requires many personal care needs.  For example, the inability to wash yourself and incontinence can be humiliating; therefore, carers should treat the elderly with respect and help them maintain some sense of dignity.  It can make a difference if they chat when working to complete tasks as efficiently and quickly as possible.  Older individuals tend to appreciate reliability and speed.

3.  Striving To Understand Results In A Better Carer

The most supportive carers in the best senior centers know that an older person can be quite grumpy or forgetful at times, and will expect this.  In many cases, the elderly tend to regress and can become childlike when receiving care, especially if they have received support for a long time.  It is important to remember that the person may say things that do not necessarily make sense, may express some antiquated views, may be impatient; however, they all deserve a degree of compassion.

4.  Confidentiality And Privacy Can Be A Problem

Privacy is a significant factor in all types of care settings.  The details of an elderly person's care program, along with information regarding illnesses, must be kept confidential - unless you are concerned about the person's welfare.

Being a regular confidante for an older individual can present challenges for a carer.  You may be asked for advice in specific situations and be expected to provide emotional support.  Tensions in families can be challenging to navigate, but a professional career should not become involved in these disputes and remain objective.

5.  Neglect, Abuse, And Poor Care Must Be Reported

In cases where abuse of the elderly is taking place, the carer should be aware of the significance of encouraging the individual to discuss the situation and make a decision regarding what is happening.  It is often the case that the individual is reluctant to report a family member being unwilling or unable to offer them the best care possible.  If a carer has a concern regarding neglect, abuse or poor care, they can raise the concern with local authorities or the company they work for.

6.  Dependability And Reliability Make A Difference

Elderly individuals can lose their faith in carers or a care company if the care worker does not arrive according to the schedule.  It only takes a single mistake on the rota to unsettle an older person.  The majority of older people have been independent for their whole lives, and now they need to rely on a person who appears unreliable - no easy feat!

In some cases, individuals will attempt to care for themselves if they believe the care worker is not arriving.  This can place them in potentially dangerous scenarios, such as trying to use the stairs without help or attempting to climb into a bath unaided.  In fact, climbing out of bed can be dangerous for a person that is unsteady on their feet.  A fall can be deadly for an older individual who is already quite weak.

7.  Communication Abilities Vary

Holding a conversation can be challenging for older people.  For example, if they have experienced a stroke, their speech could be affected.  It is common for older people to struggle with hearing and care workers need to pronounce works clearly.  Any person who chooses to work with the elderly must explore different ways of communicating.
 
 
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Quotation

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." 

Dr. Seuss
 

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