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Welcome to Elderly Care Tips

On this site you will find many useful articles on caring for the elderly.

Your role as care giver

There are many types of care givers - you might be a care assistant in a care home or a nursing home, you might be the primary carer of a relative, or you might be the carer of a friend. Whatever your relationship with the person in your care, you will be faced with challenges that you have not had to meet before and it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do.

If you are a a care assistant in a care home or a nursing home, you've probably had some training but if you are new to the role of care giver, perhaps to an elderly relative or friend, it can be particularly daunting as it's something that most of us have little experience of until it happens.

An important rule - establish a routine

There are no hard and fast rules for caring for the elderly. Often you have to think on your feet and take every day as it comes. But there is one important rule that all care givers should adopt and champion and that rule is always establish a routine. A routine can be described as the performance of specific activities in the same manner over time. In may ways elderly people are like children, and routines provide a reassuring structure to their day when the world outside is becoming an increasing confusing and hostile place to inhabit. As people's cognitive functions decline, they tend to rely more and more on routines to keep themselves organised.

Establishing a bond with the elderly person in your care

Routines are a powerful tool to use when you are trying to establish a bond the person you are looking after. Bonds are important because a relationship based and trust and warmth is likely to be a successful union. Routines can help foster bonds because they an elderly person feel secure and comfortable. They will also make like a lot easier for both the cared for and the carer.

Getting to know the person in your care

Before you can establish a routine, you need to find out as much as you can about the person in your care. You may already know the person in your care very well, especially if he or she is an elderly relative. However, if you have not lived with that person, there may be many personal habits that you do not know about. If the person you are caring for has a more distant relationship with you, you may have more homework to do. It's important to remember that it is not good practice to impose your routines on the person in your care. They are individuals like you, with likes and dislikes. A good and effective routine is always based on mutual interests. You will need to be prepared to compromise.

Trust and mutual respect

Once you feel you really know the person in your care, you can begin to build a solid relationship based on trust and mutual respect. This type of relationship is essential - one based on anything else is doomed to failure. Elderly people who feel they are being pushed around or asked to do things against their wishes will be resentful and difficult, and sometimes aggressive. Such behavior makes your life a misery as well as theirs. Always remember that you will be old one day - treat the elderly person in your care with the respect that you would expect if you were in their position.




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Benefits of establishing a routine

A good routine will have a very beneficial effect on the person you are caring for. The stablising influence of a routine will will make life happier and less stressful for both you and the person in your care. There are many things for you to remember and do such as administering medication, attending to personal hygiene, and preparing meals, and a good routine will help you remember what to do and when. For the elderly person, the routine will be reassuring and will make them feel happy in the knowledge that the things that they can no longer do are getting done. Seniors love routine and hate unexpected things and chaos.

Disadvantages of routines for the elderly

The routine habit just described is very important, but it is important not to be completely constricted by routine. Although routines for elderly people can increase feelings of control and safety, they can also become stifling and restrictive.

Some experts now think that routine can be 'boring' and elderly people can become anxious, depressed and forgetful if forced into a restrictive routine that they are not comfortable with. For example, a study of 235 elderly French people discovered that those who were most anxious and depressed had the most restrictive routines in their life.

The solution to this is to remain flexible about routines. Make sure that there are occasional changes that the elderly person in your care will enjoy such as a trip to the shops or a visit to the local park.



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