When an elderly relative agrees to receive help and support in order to enable them to continue living at home, they may feel they are relinquishing their independence.
Sometimes, the admission that help is required can be mentally stressful, and it’s extremely important that carers act to respect and preserve an elderly person’s dignity in care at all times, whilst still giving them all the home care support they need.
Always offer a choice
An elderly person who has lived alone for a long time will probably have their own clear preferences on many daily activities, such as what they prefer to eat, what TV programs they enjoy watching, and what clothes they want to wear.
It’s very important that a home carer gives the person they are caring for the opportunity to have full involvement in all choices concerning their daily living. For example, a good carer will ask their elderly charge if they would like to have a bath now or perhaps wait until later, or maybe they would prefer a shower.
It’s important that someone receiving home care feels that they are empowered and are still in control of their lives and having a choice gives them this.
Personal care and preserving dignity
One area of home care that can very easily strip away someone’s dignity is that of Personal Care. Many elderly people are simply not comfortable with being naked in front of others, and professional carers will always bear this in mind when assisting with washing or dressing.
Whenever possible, the carer’s eyes will be averted or they will turn away. When giving a strip wash, the person will be given a towel to cover their bottom half, while the carer washes their top half and vice versa.
When assisting with dressing or toileting, the person will always be encouraged to do as much of the task as they can by themselves. The carer will only intervene when asked to or if they can see that the person is struggling to manage on their own.
Respect the elderly person’s home
The whole point of providing home care to someone is to allow them to continue living in familiar surroundings in which they feel comfortable and secure. Professional care givers are very aware that they are in someone else’s home, and will always ask their client’s permission before moving or changing anything. This is particularly important if the person is partially-sighted or suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, as moving things could cause them to become confused or disorientated.
With a little thought, very effective and welcome home support can be provided to your elderly relative without compromising their dignity.
For further advice and information on home care options, have a chat with your local home care specialists at The Great Care Company.