5 TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS
We use Caregiver to refer to those who look after older adults.
Some tips for taking care of elderly ones includes;
- Learn To Be Patient
In one of my experiences with an elderly person, he dressed in exercise gear to go for a walk but wanted to wear shoes (the type that screams office) also. He was adamant about his preference for footwear. It was not as funny as it seems now.
Resist the urge to get into a confrontation with an elder, do not become abusive or make snide comments, neither should you mock them.
Caring for an elder in my opinion may be as intensive as caring for a toddler. It is important for people who cannot be patient to stay away from seniors and vulnerable people generally.
- Get Training
Caring for any human being is not something that should be assumed to be possible without adequate training.
And No, being family does not automatically translate to being in the best position to care for your loved ones. If this was the case, Mothers will be in the best position to birth their babies and handle the babies without any training on caring for the baby, latching properly e.t.c.
The moment you make a decision to give care to the elderly around you should be the exact moment you get training in caregiving because there is a lot to what is required than what you already know.
- Try to be Helpful all the Time
Always try to be helpful all the time. It is easy to get tired of assisting the elderly with cleaning up after them but remember that as a caregiver, you signed up to do just that.
Always go the extra mile for the elderly. Do not get upset at opportunities to assist further.
- Listen to the Elders you care for
Another quality of good caregivers in addition to patience is that they are great listeners. They listen to both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Older adults have stories and a wealth of experience to share when they find an audience or if they feel particularly chatty, listen to them. Also, watch for more than what the elder is saying.
If a chatty senior does not chat the whole day, a good caregiver should pick up on that and check to see that the senior is doing well.
Read: Who is an Older Person?
- Put them First
It is easy to do what you want regardless of the needs and feelings of the elderly as we may feel they cannot hold us accountable for our actions.
A good caregiver would put the needs of the elder above their personal comfort. This is not to encourage caregivers to put themselves in danger.
For instance, a violent elder should be attended by a professional that can provide the help he needs.
Putting them first may mean, putting television channels they prefer to watch instead of your preference, it may also mean making healthy meals instead of the fastest meal.
These tips are not exhaustive, you are welcome to add more tips in the comments section.
P.S: We use older adults interchangeably with seniors, Elders, Elderly.