“Here, let me help you with that.”
“Don’t overdo it now!”
“Maybe you should sit here and rest; I’ll take care of that.”
You Just Want To Help
How many times have you made these comments to seniors you love (with the very best of intentions, of course?) We want to care for our older loved ones the way they did for us when we were young. We want to keep them safe from harm and help them in any way we can. Yet, there’s a hidden danger in doing “it all” for seniors because you risk depriving them of the ability to do as much as possible for themselves. These well-intentioned actions can easily damage their self-esteem and sense of purpose in life.
Take, for instance, a senior gentleman who spent his entire life providing for his family and now finds himself in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Since he has always self-identified as the provider for his family, relying on others to provide for him can be very difficult. It could even feel demeaning. There are numerous ways to help preserve his dignity and let him know his family still needs him.
Tips for boosting Senior Self-esteem from the caregiving experts at Caregivers by WholeCare:
Ask for advice
There is much we can learn from older adults in our lives. Asking for advice gives them an excellent opportunity to impart their knowledge. It’s also a great way to boost their self-esteem. Find small ways throughout the day to ask the senior’s opinion on how to make a perfect pan of lump-free gravy, how to stop the draft coming in under the windowsill, or how to comfort a cranky toddler.
Seek hands-on help
As in-home caregivers, it’s our privilege to help seniors with various needs. We also realize the importance of allowing seniors the opportunity to perform helpful tasks as well. It doesn’t have to be monumental to impart a feeling of purpose. Pay attention to their cognitive and physical limitations, and ask for their assistance accordingly. For example, someone who uses a wheelchair can sit at the table and perform cooking and baking related tasks, polish silverware, or organize a toolbox.
Verbalize your respect
You may assume your loved one knows how you feel but it’s still a wonderful feeling to be told how much we mean to one another. Express the specific ways they have helped you and how much you appreciate it. From learning to ride a bike to parenting skills, or the ability to paint or carve wood – the possibilities are endless. Be sincere in your compliments, and offer them up freely from your heart.
Are you concerned about a loved one’s mental or physical health because they spend too much time alone? Would you like a little support in juggling your caregiving and professional duties?
A trained in-home caregiver, such as those at Caregivers by WholeCare, knows how to maintain the delicate balance between providing care for seniors while also enhancing their sense of purpose. Contact us to learn more about our home care services or schedule a no-obligation personalized assessment for your senior loved one.