When you provide in-home care for seniors as a professional home care worker, there are various things your clients will expect from you. Two especially important things they expect are psychological relief and support. There may be a myriad of struggles and circumstances they are experiencing. Therefore, they’re going to look to you to provide them some compassionate support and guidance.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 7% of the elderly population struggle with depression. As such, you’re likely to provide in-home care for seniors that struggle with mild to severe depression.
In addition, WHO states that about 15% of those over age 60 struggle with a mental health disorder. From anxiety disorder to substance abuse to PTSD, it will serve you well to learn how you can best support those in need in terms of emotional and mental support.
How To Provide Relief And Support To the Elderly
When you walk into an elderly client’s home to provide care, you want to show up trained and ready to offer the kind of support they’re seeking. Most agencies will provide ongoing training for personal support workers, which is necessary. If you feel you’re lacking in training, discuss this with your management to see if they have pieces of training that you could attend.
Promoting mental health will involve you being a compassionate, patient listener. Your clients are likely to be struggling some days – mentally, emotionally, or physically. They’ll be looking toward you to listen. In fact, they may only want you to listen and simply hear them. To really see them with compassion and patience.
If you can do this, it’s likely they will feel relieved. They will feel understood. Once they share with you what’s going on, you can make a judgment call as to whether the issue(s) need to be addressed by another professional. If so, follow proper protocol and get the right people in place for your client.
Strategies For Wellness
You can also have some wellness strategies on hand to offer clients. Find out what they desire and do your best to cater to those desires. Perhaps you can encourage them to follow a daily routine or exercise regimen to help them get moving. Or if they struggle with anxiety, help them learn some relaxation techniques.
For those that love to read, be sure that they’ve got plenty of books to choose from for their reading pleasure. For those who enjoy socialization, be sure that they’re getting adequate time to chat with family and/or friends. If there are social restrictions, encourage them to keep in touch with loved ones via video chat. If they don’t know how to use their technology for such, take the time to teach them.
Help Them Maintain Dignity
Your elderly clients want you to do all you can to help them maintain their dignity. This means allowing them to do all that they can for themselves. Some personal care workers just start doing everything for their clients, assuming that they can’t do for themselves. This can upset people, as most of them want to remain as independent as possible.
Stay aware as you provide in-home care for seniors. Be sure that you’re checking in with your clients to see if they’re comfortable with the tasks they’re doing, such as hygiene, cooking, and so on. Encourage them to ask for help if they need, rather than just take overdoing things. They may want support, but only if it’s absolutely necessary.
And, for many seniors, just your presence is enough support for them to continue being as independent as they can.
It’s All In The Communication
It may help you to remember that much of the elderly population did not grow up with cell phones, laptops, and iPads. When they wanted to talk to someone, they had to actually call them on the phone or go to their house.
In the same way, many seniors just want to be able to talk openly and honestly about their wants, needs, and life face-to-face.
Your task as a professional home service worker is to let them. Listen patiently and compassionately, giving feedback only if you feel it would help them. Affirm them and let them know that you hear them. And, that you are there to support them in a way that makes sense for them.
You can be wonderful psychological relief and support for the elderly. It’s a blessing for them, as well as yourself. Make it your aim to offer the kind of elite care that your clients deserve and appreciate.
Kira Boyd is a proud Economics major and an enthusiast of the hot trends in the global industry. She often blogs about what is current and offers her insights to her readers, which many times have proven helpful and useful. In her free time, she loves walking with her dog Lassie and enjoys a beer in the nearest pub.