Working with the elderly can be a fulfilling experience and, at times, a frustrating one as well. Above all else, the key is to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.
It may give you peace of mind that you are doing an honourable task; yet, there are times when you will feel that things aren’t going smoothly for you. Quite often, you may feel frustrated in certain situations if you are working with older adults, but it is important to remember that they may be frustrated too. Therefore, there are certain traits that you need to adapt to your personality. Whether you have a senior family member, with whom you look after on a daily basis, or you are working in senior home care, these traits can help you to work to your best potential without getting frustrated or stressed.
Key skills healthcare workers need when treating elderly patients
A key trait, or even requirement, is patience. Elderly people may not be quick to embrace change; they may not be tech-savvy, and understanding modern technology can be a difficult task for them. By nature, people get used to a certain way of doing things, and change is difficult for all. Therefore, you need to remain patient while engaging. This does not just apply to caring for the elderly; it’s a pretty useful skill to have in life.
When working with the elderly, you need to be flexible. This particular trait is especially important if you are working in senior home care. Flexibility will go a long way to developing a more caring relationship. Home care is unpredictable and offering flexibility in your approach will ultimately help you to perform your duties more diligently and effectively.
Be compassionate. It is important to put yourself in the shoes of others and look at things from their perspective. Just because someone relies on you for some support does not mean that they may be unable to complete all tasks put in front of them. Ageing is a natural process that happens to everyone and circumstances may mean common everyday activities become more difficult over time. Listen and put those interpersonal skills to use. The better you are at communicating with others the more likely you will be able to help those in care get through their day with their dignity intact. Treat people the way you expect to be treated, regardless of age.
You need to be responsible and treat others with respect. You should respect your patients' personal needs, communicate with them correctly, and refrain from showing signs of frustration, no matter how difficult the situation is. If you are a caregiver, perform your duties with honesty and earn their trust. They may need your help but they also deserve your respect.
How can healthcare staff develop their care skills?
Treating the elderly with dignity and respect is central to home care. Knowing what to say and how to deal with distraught patients is one of many aspects taught through our online Health and Social care courses. For training specific to this article go to our Dignity, Privacy and Respect Awareness training course where staff can learn how to support specific care needs.