Friday, December 4, 2009

advice from a caregiver

I have been taking care of the elderly in their homes for three years. Most of my experience has been live-in with a couple that was 96 years old and ended at 98 years old. They are still alive, but no longer with my company. The wife is in the nursing home and the husband I heard went with another company, because he was mad at the rate increase from live-in rate to hourly rate. But that isn't my point here. I have had plenty of other experiences being in the homes of the elderly.
I currently work for a couple and the husband is the one who needs us and the wife kind of uses us for her needs to which is okay, but she is the stronger one of the two. So my message is for the wifes, husbands, sons, daughters, or anyone else who finds themselves caring for the elderly has either a paid job or because you are their family. When you have a caregiver around all the time it's easy to expect the caregiver to take care of your family members every need.
My Advice is.
  • Don't talk about the elderly as if they weren't there.
  • Let them do as much as they can. Don't expect the caregiver to 100% dress them, because it's faster.
  • Let them make as many choices as they can.
  • Don't always just give everything they might want. Make them ask. (or they will forget)
  • If the person is able to do something such as housework with your help. let them.
  • Don't talk to them as children. Don't say that's a good boy.
  • Give them privacy in the bathroom (if possible) don't expect the caregiver to wipe them if they can do it.
  • Use humor. They love it if you can bring some laughter in.
  • Don't pick up the phone when they talk or don't assume that they wouldn't enjoy talking.
  • Do take them out of the house even if it's some work.
  • Don't try to overly control what they want to eat. Come on is a second piece of candy gonna hurt someone over 80 or 90
Over all remember they are people still with needs and let them keep some dignity. I have seen some major things where people are trying to control the others and it's just not right. Sometimes I feel that I have protect clients from their own spouses. But not in the sense of danger, but just let them be.


Jenn said...

great post! it's sad in our culture how we don't respect the elderly like we should.

Anonymous said...

That is sad. My mom kinda treats my Grandma that way.