If you are caring for the elderly in any capacity, whether it is as a care assistant in a retirement home or as a primary caregiver in the home of an elderly relative, it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do. If you are new to caring then it can be a very daunting experience because you are literally thrown in at the deep end.
You learn or run; it is as simple as that. There are no courses or hard and fast rules that can tell you how to react in certain situations. Every caregiver has to find his or her own footing when caring for the elderly, and then translate that into a level on which you feel comfortable in order to be effective. However, there is one golden rule that you should follow and adopt as your private philosophy – always establish a routine and never underestimate its power!
Routines are essential when you are trying to establish a bond with the elderly person under your care. They can make that individual senior extremely happy and afford them an immense sense of comfort, as well as making your life so much easier! Before you even begin to think about establishing a daily routine though, you need to find out as much about the individual as you can.
This shouldn’t be a problem if you are related in some way, but it applies just as much as it does to caring for a complete stranger. You can’t even begin to think about a routine if you do not know the person because they may hate certain aspects of the care that you impose on them. An effective routine is always based on mutual interests and compromise.
By getting t know the individual that you are caring for, you can build a solid foundation of trust and mutual respect. Trying to get into a routine before you have this will doom it to failure. Regardless of how logical and effective your routine promises to be, you cannot have a hope of it succeeding if the person that you are trying to help repeatedly bucks and sabotages it. Build the trust and then the routine.
A good routine will have a stabilizing effect on the elderly person that you are caring for, which will make your long term working relationship with them so much happier and less stressful. It will help you to remember what to do and when, and it will help the senior to remember what he or she has to do as well. Repeatedly doing the same thing over and over can give an immense sense of comfort to the senior because there is nothing unexpected thrown in to upset them.
The frustration of not knowing what is happening in your own world can be extremely upsetting, but a routine can help to avoid it. The familiar can give seniors a sense that they have some sort of control over their lives and can be used effectively to this end by caregivers. It can take months to build up an effective routine, but once it is in place then you will be loathed to deviate from it.
Once you have tried out the golden rule for yourself, you will see just how effective a tool it can be. It gives you a measure of control without taking away the elderly person’s independence. It can cut out unnecessary stress. Although you do have to persevere to establish it and may face an initial rebellion, it will ultimately be worth the effort and both the caregiver and receiver will fully appreciate it.
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