Senior Care with Dignity – Our requirement for respect and dignity does not diminish as we age – in actuality, it grows even stronger. When it comes to personal hygiene, seniors may feel nervous or even ashamed that they require assistance. Elders have something or two to teach us about enduring change and handling life’s adversity. Even if a senior’s hearing or memory isn’t what it was in the past, our elders have great wisdom to impart. Our grandparents and parents, elder raised us to believe in the importance of treating others with courtesy and respect.
These past generations have held tight to their dignity, ethics, faith, honesty, and integrity, which is exactly why condescending or even inadvertent belittling is not okay, even when the goal is to protect, rather than harm.
- Knocking before opening a closed door
As circumstances and situations permit, stand aside when a senior is using the toilet, or in another room if possible.
- Ask if he prefers a running conversation during bathing or dressing, or if he’d like silence
- Let him make as many choices as possible, i.e. Would you like to bathe before or after dinner? Which pajamas would you like to wear tonight?
- Ask for his opinions and listen to his concerns. Communicate any issues or problems to family members
- Don’t ever talk about him to another person as if he is not there
Remember to try to keep questions open-ended so that you can start some really interesting conversations
- Are there any family secrets or stories that you’ve never shared (but want to)?
- Did you ever have a job that you didn’t keep for long?
- Did you travel a lot before you had a family? What are the places in the? A world you really loved visiting? Where do you wish you could go? What would you like to see?
- Do you have any regrets in life?
- How did you spend your free time as a child?
- Is there anything you accomplished that really surprised you?
- Was there ever a time in your life when you and/or your family really struggled?
- What was your first job?
- Who was your mentor or role model?
- What world events had the most impact on you and our family?
- What subjects did you enjoy in school? Did you like school as a child?
The more you know and understand about your elder, the easier it will be to care for them as they age, the closer you’ll feel, and the more equipped you’ll be to share their story when they’re no longer here to share it themselves.
Benefits of Getting to know your Elder Better
Avoiding condescension with seniors can also mean avoiding the adoption of a parental tone and ensuring that, as much as is possible, you’re speaking to the senior the way you would have talked to him or her before dementia took hold.
Support from far away relatives
People who reside far away and are not physically present can help by just making phone calls to the elders daily. Talking itself is therapeutic for old people. You could also assist them by paying bills online or guiding them in financial matters
Organized visits to the doctor
Participate in elder care services like taking your parents to the doctors. In order to prepare for the doctor’s visit keep all your questions ready. This should also include contact details of the doctor in case of any queries. Also, it’s important to carry details of their medical history, current medication, and dosage. Help your parents to understand their medicines along with recommended changes in their diet.
Exercise and diet
It’s good to accompany your parents for morning and evening walks. It will not only make them feel refreshed but would also serve as an opportunity for you to spend some time together. Paying attention to diet is equally important. They may not be able to consume much at their age hence it is important to feed them a nutritious and a healthy meal.
It is very important to invest in an insurance policy or medical claim for your parents. This will ensure that they remain stress-free and feel protected about their future.
Help the senior succeed
People affected by dementia often know that they’re not the same as they used to be. They may struggle for words, work to remember a familiar person’s name or face, or lose their train of thought in the middle of a story or sentence. In these situations, one of the best and most humane things you can do is help the senior succeed by asking leading questions and ensuring that you’re prepared to fill in important details that the senior may miss.
Treat the senior as normally as possible
It’s important to treat senior as normally as possible, Feel-good reasons are strong incentives to take the time to get to know your elder, but there are practical motivations too. When your elder develops Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or a type of mental illness, at that point, knowing them on a deeper level will be helpful to you as their caregiver.
Regardless of whether you are not looking after your aging elder yourself, passing information about them on to their caregivers can make a world of difference in the quality of their day-to-day living.
Don’t be afraid to tell white lies:
While we’re told all of our lives that we shouldn’t lay, sometimes dementia and Alzheimer’s necessitate the occasional use of a half-truth or a white lie. In a few circumstances, it is vastly better (for both the senior and the caregiver) to tell a half-truth than it is, to tell the truth, and wound the senior’s feelings or sense of dignity.