Special Report: Working with the Elderly

Five things to consider when working with the elderly

If you have had no experience of caring for an elderly person, you may find yourself facing all sorts of unexpected situations.

In short, it can all be overwhelming and emotionally taxing. 

However, with some preparation, you will be able to put a strategy in place for the benefit of both you and the person you are caring for.

1. It isn’t easy

You may go into care for the elderly thinking it is just a matter of meeting physical needs and providing company. After all, listening to stories from past times is pretty interesting as it gives you window onto yesteryear. 

But even for the trained carer, being in the company of an elderly person for a long time can be challenging. It’s not for no reason that there are support groups for carers! 

In a way, it is even tougher when they are a relative. This is because, no matter how much you love them and want to help, it can all be a bit too close for comfort at times. 

A carer feels like they should have unlimited patience and will feel guilty if they don’t. 

2. Mobility issues

Many people reach their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in better all-round shape than people half their age! For most though, there are physical issues that curtail their mobility. 

There are many devices for around the home which will make life easier for an elderly man or woman to maintain some independence. 

An excellent addition to the home is a reconditioned stairlift. These devices cut out the difficult and draining task of climbing up and down the stairs several times a day and can be fitted for just about any shape and size of stair well.

This simple fixture can change somebody’s life.

3. Loss of self esteem and isolation

When an ageing person has felt as though they have contributed to society all of their life, to suddenly find themselves without a purpose can be crushing.

Children may be too busy to spend much time with them and if they have lost a spouse or partner, the isolation can be tougher.

A little compassion and patience on the part of the carer will go a very long way.

4. Loneliness

Some elderly people lead active social lives with friends and trips filling their days. Others live in isolation. 

Find out about what is on offer locally that the elderly person would enjoy and if there is any community transport available to get there. Perhaps you could accompany them a few times to help them with their confidence.

5. Care for yourself

Don’t underestimate the toll caring for the elderly can take on your mental and physical health.

Join an online carers’ support forum or a local group where you can talk things through safely. 

Make sure you have time do things you enjoy. 

This is vital for your own well being and that of the person you are looking after.