Caregiving can be a rewarding experience as it offers opportunities to strengthen the relationship and connect with your elderly loved ones.
“Caring and communication are inseparably linked. You cannot hope to communicate effectively if you do not care about the person on the receiving end.” – P.Morrison & P. Bernard, 1997, authors of "Caring and Communicating: The Interpersonal Relationship in Nursing"
Communicating effectively promotes your relationship and reduces misunderstanding, conflict and stress. A senior may find it challenging to make themselves understood, or understand what others are saying, because their senses dull over time. Changes in vision and hearing, and slowing of reaction time may impede communication. Slurred speech and memory loss due to illness or side effects from medication may also affect their ability to speak and respond clearly.
As caregivers, you can help by giving them eye contact, to show they have your attention. Listening patiently and actively by giving brief responses such as “I see” and “okay”, lets your loved one know you understand their concern. When conversing with the elderly, use simple words and short sentences, with an appropriate speed and tone of talking. Avoid using words that might be patronising or disrespectful. You can also validate their needs by asking them to do something, instead of ordering them.
Activities are a great way to engage your loved one. Consider their preferences and ability when offering activities for them to participate in. Having the ability to exercise a choice gives the seniors a sense of confidence. This will in turn increase their willingness to participate in the activities. There are many types of activities that seniors can do at home, or outside in the community with their neighbours and friends.
There are many ways to keep your loved one active, both mentally and physically.
At home, simple activities like getting dresses, having a conversation, singing, or reading, can maintain their motor and cognitive skills. Taking part in outdoor recreational activities together can also build social connections, and may fulfil their emotional needs.
Caregiving requires spending quality time with your loved one. It is not just about providing for their physical needs. Planning for a day out for elderly in wheelchair is not difficult.
A visit to family-friendly parks
If you already have a place in mind, you can visit this link by the Building & Construction Authority to find out how friendly the place is for people using assistive devices, or to find wheelchair-friendly routes.
Some simple tips for a successful day out include packing an umbrella, carrying refreshments and medication, a cushion for comfort, and a backup ride (such as taxi or car services).
Going about in a wheelchair or walking aid may attract some attention to your loved one along the trip. If your loved one feels uncomfortable, spend a moment to talk about his/her feelings.
If your loved one is bedbound, there are activities you can do with them to stimulate their motor skills, elevate their mood, decrease anxiety, and give them a chance to interact.
Body massage and passive exercises. Check with your loved one’s physiotherapist on the suitable level of physical activity
If your loved one has dementia, you can find additional resources that can
suit your needs here.
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