8 mistakes to avoid when caring for older adults

Those who think that caring for the elderly is a frustrating task are wrong. Done with good judgment, it can be very constructive and rewarding.

Last update: October 24, 2021

Caring for the elderly requires goodwill and willingness. Unless you have a serious illness and demand special attention, making life easier for an older person does not require exceptional abilities.

It is important to be clear that this care consists of helping him feel comfortable and loved, as well as contributing to make some daily activities easier for him. This may sound simple, but it is based on patience and responsibility.

When caring for the elderly also involves some basic nursing tasks, it is important to be well informed and look for methods that facilitate the task. It is very satisfying to contribute to the well-being of the elderly person and this compensates the efforts.

Caring for the elderly

The care of the elderly is concentrated on 3 fronts. The first is personal care, which includes grooming, dressing, eating, and physical activity. The second corresponds to health care, which includes taking medications and medical appointments.

The third front corresponds to emotional care and is the one that concentrates more errors. This is a demanding field, as older people are often stubborn in some ways or have symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Altogether, there are many activities and it is an arduous task. However, it becomes more difficult if you don’t have the right attitude. This not only helps to make the work less tiring, but it also creates a positive and cooperative environment in the older person.

Mistakes to avoid when caring for the elderly

There are some common mistakes in caring for older adults. The indicated thing is to avoid them to prevent difficulties and perform the task fully. Among the most frequent failures are the following.

1. Not being properly informed

It is important to have good information about the patterns of aging in general and about the person in particular. As for the first, there are aspects that are common to this stage of life. Enlightenment in this regard helps to understand the needs of the person being cared for.

In addition, each older adult has their own characteristics. Desires, projects, temperaments, difficulties and limitations are very particular. Knowing them makes the job easier.

Those who care for the elderly must know the particularities of the case.

2. Lack of planning

It is convenient to plan very well all the activities involved in caring for the elderly. One of the most common mistakes is not establishing consistent routines. A good plan gives the elderly person security.

The plan should include times for eating, physical activity and play. Likewise, the dates and times of taking medicines and medical appointments must be detailed. Also special dates and outings if you are in a nursing home.

3. Impatience

The slowness of an older adult to perform some activities can irritate the caregiver, especially if there is a lot to do and little time. Likewise, that person may be stubborn with minutiae or have a hostile attitude at some point.

Caring for the elderly requires a lot of patience. You have to be prepared for these tense situations and deal with them wisely. It is convenient to do everything in time and not overload the routine. The right thing to do is stay calm.

4. Over-resistance

It is necessary to understand that good care is not synonymous with overprotection. Part of the tasks is to help the other to preserve as much autonomy as possible. Therefore, He should be encouraged to do everything that does not require assistance on his own..

In this regard, it is important to have good communication with the doctor. He will determine what are the specific limitations that an older adult presents. Sometimes that person thinks that they cannot do something, when in fact they have the capacity to do it.

5. Disregard complaints

An important part of caring for older adults is listening skills. While it is true that some elderly people have a tendency to complain, it is also true that these complaints imply some needs that have not been met.

Complaints should not be ignored. It is also important to learn to interpret them. Sometimes they are the result of anxiety or sadness and just listening to them can make that person feel better.

6. Prevention of falls

Falls are one of the latent risks faced by older people. Many times this risk is only recognized when it is too late. Falls are usually very serious situations.

The best thing is to prevent them. Part of taking care of older adults is to check that they wear the correct footwear, that all areas are well lit, with non-slip rugs and safety bars in the bathroom. You also have to help them maintain muscle strength in their legs.

7. Communication failures

It is not unusual for an older adult to suddenly say something that does not make sense. Or to ensure that something is true, when it is evident that it is not. In those cases, it is not a good idea to get into an argument with them.

Likewise, it is common for these people to have trouble listening or sometimes do not find a way to make themselves understood clearly. You always have to remain calm, speak loudly and with good vocalization.

8. Lack of istimulation

The care of the elderly implies not only preventing health problems or accidents, but also contributing to a higher quality of life and comprehensive well-being. This involves carrying out activities that provide them with adequate intellectual and emotional stimulation.

Do not forget the importance of going out with them to places where they feel comfortable. If possible, promote socialization with family or people of their age. Also, carry out pleasant activities, such as gardening, crafts or reading.

Recreational activities are an integral part of caring for older adults.

Helpful Tips in Caring for Older Adults

Some of the actions that can be carried out to facilitate the care of the elderly are the following:

  • Prepare a needs assessment: Establishing what that person needs is useful for later designing an action plan.
  • Make family agreements: what is indicated is that each member of the family assumes some responsibility.
  • Develop a safety plan: It consists of making an inventory of the possible risks and establishing an action plan for each one of them.
  • Motivate the adoption of hobbies: They do a lot of good for older adults.
  • Help you maintain social contact: it is good to contact close people from time to time to prevent isolation.
  • Have occasional details: an older person will appreciate that the caregiver has special details from time to time.
  • Highlight virtues and capabilities: It is important to emphasize what you are capable of and celebrate your achievements.

Caregivers of older adults should take care of themselves

It is clear that caring for the elderly is a demanding task. In any case, can be facilitated with good planning. However, the caregiver must also preserve their space and take breaks or rest from their work on a regular basis.

It is necessary to be aware that an older person is in a natural phase of loss of their skills and abilities. The caregiver can help slow this down, but not prevent it.

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