As a family caregiver, your priority is the health and safety of your loved one. You want to ensure that they are eating enough, comfortable, and taking the right medications. Because of the importance of these tasks, it can be challenging to also prioritize their dignity and sense of independence.
We all want to age on our own terms. Acknowledging and fostering your loved one’s ability to age with dignity is just as important as any other area of health or wellness, and it should be one of your priorities as a caregiver.
CaraVita Home Care has offered in-home care services throughout the Metro Atlanta area for over 20 years. We want to discuss some approaches to help create a supportive environment while providing senior care.
See Them for the Person They Are
When you’re helping someone with grooming, bathing, or eating, it can be easy (although unintentional) to treat him or her as a child. This is especially the case when caring for someone with dementia or another cognitive impairment, as they can have more limitations and require more involved care.
Regardless of how much care they may need, it’s important to focus on the individual and see them for the person they are - their likes and dislikes, their experiences - and provide care that respects all of these areas.
Another important principle for treating your loved one with respect is to avoid the concept of ‘elderspeak.’ This is the specific manner in which people, especially caregivers, talk to older adults in a sing-songy voice, using a limited vocabulary, or using over-endearing terms like “honey” or “sweetie.”
Elderspeak is common in senior care, and while good-intentioned, using it can be demeaning and hurtful. Focus on their strengths instead of weaknesses and speak to them in the same tone of voice as you would anyone else. By calling your loved one by their name or relation, you are solidifying a respectful and equal relationship. Besides, no mother ever gets tired of being called “Mom,” no matter what age they are!
Listen To Their Thoughts & Concerns
Being a family caregiver is about making sure that your loved one is happy, safe, and comfortable. A critical aspect of that is communicating with them to ensure that they feel this way.
Talk about their wants, needs, or concerns. Let them know that you value their opinion and try to implement any suggestions that they may have regarding their care. Including and involving them in meaningful conversations is vital in preserving their dignity and creating a supportive care environment.
Take a Step Back When Possible
Though it may be easier to plan out your loved one’s entire day—from what clothes they wear to what they eat—it diminishes their sense of independence and autonomy. Letting them make their own decisions can foster independence and promote dignity. While your loved one may need assistance with certain activities, if they are able to complete tasks on their own, let them.
If you provide care for someone with dementia, try letting them choose from two or three options. Doing this will help maintain their sense of independence without overwhelming them with choices.
Thinking About Home Care
If your loved one has gotten to the point where they require more focused care, consider in-home care. This option can be an excellent way for your loved one to get the care that they need while staying in an environment where they feel comfortable and in control.
Today’s in-home care services provide highly-personalized and skilled care designed to preserve older adults’ dignity. If you are considering in-home care, be sure to discuss it with your loved one first and include them in the decision-making process.
CaraVita Home Care provides in-home care that caters to all levels of needs. Our caregivers are highly-qualified and trained and are passionately committed to providing exceptional care, all while maintaining dignity and independence. We ensure that your loved one is treated with respect throughout the entire care journey.
For more information on CaraVita Home Care and what we offer, we encourage you to contact a member of our team today!