“Here, let me help you with that.”
“You just sit down and rest; I’ll take care of that.”
How often have we made statements like these to seniors, with only the best of intentions in mind? We want to do everything possible to help our senior loved ones, to ensure their safety and to look after them in the same way they took care of us when we were young. Yet, there is a danger in trying to do too much for seniors and depriving them of the opportunity to do as much as they can independently – the threat of negatively impacting senior self-esteem and sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Take, for instance, an elderly gentleman who spent his entire life providing for his family, and recently has progressed into the early phase of Alzheimer’s disease. Considering the fact that he has continually self-identified as a provider, being dependent on another to provide for him can be extremely tough and even feel demeaning. It’s critical to help him preserve the sense of being needed by others, and there are a variety of techniques to accomplish just that. Try these elderly care tips from Complete Care at Home:
- Seek guidance. Being given the occasion to share knowledge and wisdom is a tremendous boost to an older person’s self-esteem, and there’s undoubtedly a lot we can learn from older adults. Think of little ways throughout the day to request the older person’s advice on how to make a perfect apple pie, how to fix the draft coming in under the back door, how to soothe a cranky toddler, etc.
- Bring in hands-on support. As in-home caregivers, it’s our responsibility to assist older individuals with assorted needs, but we also recognize the value of allowing seniors the chance to perform helpful responsibilities too. It doesn’t need to be a difficult or large task to maintain the sense of being needed. Be aware of the senior’s cognitive and physical boundaries, and request his/her help accordingly. For instance, a person who is in a wheelchair can sit at the table and help with meal preparation related tasks, polish tableware, or sort nuts and bolts in a toolbox.
- Vocally show your respect. Although you might presume the older person understands how you feel, it’s a phenomenal feeling to be told how much we mean to one another. Take time to point out specific ways the older individual has aided you in some manner and how much you appreciate that help, from learning to ride a bike or drive a car, to parenting skills, to the ability to draw or paint or carve wood. Be truthful in your compliments, and share them often, from your heart.
A skilled in-home caregiver, such as the professional caregivers at Complete Care at Home, is proficient in maintaining the sensitive balance between providing care for older adults and increasing their sense of purpose and meaning. Contact us online or call us at 805-727-3445 to learn more about how we provide the kind of companion care Santa Barbara and families in other surrounding areas trust most. To find out more about all of the areas we service in Santa Barbara County, please visit our Service Area page.