Though you learned by a book doesn't mean you have to be as crisp as the pages of that book. Always keep in mind that you are taking care of a human being who may have little or no family left, she may have lost her home with only her memory to rely on for comfort, and be left with a room she has to share. All of these things often have an impact on her emotionally; this is when you should take a few moments and provide her with someone to talk to, someone who shows caring about how she feels.
Review the Care Plan
An elder's care plan tells you everything you need to know, from the type of food he can eat to how he needs to be bathed. It is essential you follow this care plan just as it is written and check it daily for any changes. For instance, if an elder is diabetic and receives ice cream for dessert, it can be fatal if you do not notice it and call the dietary department for a sugar-free dessert. Also, if an elder requires two people to lift them out of bed and you choose to do it alone, it can result in a fall and injury. By ignoring the care plan, you can have your certification or license revoked.
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of caring for the elderly. There may be times when you are caring for someone with dementia who isn't making any sense when she talks. This does not give you the right to mock her in any way; you still need to treat her with respect and carry on the conversation so they enjoy it. Remember, it is about her, not you. You also need to knock before entering a patient's rooms and introduce yourself before providing care for a new patient. Just because they need your help doesn't mean you have the right to treat them like children.
Flexibility is especially important when approaching an elderly patient for care. You may enter his room with a specific routine in mind, which fits into your schedule. However, you need to adapt to his needs rather than him adapting to yours. If patients want to wash themselves and are capable, let them, even if you could do it faster. If they would like to get their clothes, even if you can do it faster, let them. And if they would prefer to brush their teeth before they get dressed, let them. It may be the routine they have had for years; they are entitled to keep it.
To care properly for elderly patients, you need to be professional yet compassionate, knowledgeable yet flexible. It is not a job everyone can perform, yet it is a rewarding job for those who choose it as their career. While it can be both physically and emotionally demanding, you can do certain things to make caring for the elderly easier for both of you.