Senior citizens are one of the main pillars in building a community. They have the knowledge, experiences, and skills that help to strengthen and develop various fields in a community. However, due to chronic illnesses or some disabilities, many elders end up in nursing homes. Most residents in aged care have been admitted there because their family can’t provide their needed care anymore. Some might have dementia or other mental conditions that make them harder to function.
Motivating seniors to stay empowered despite their conditions is no easy feat. It’s not just their difficulty doing simple tasks like fending themselves or even walking independently. Still, it can also be their fear of injuring themselves or even the cognitive decline associated with their aging. But having empowering activities could make a massive difference to their quality of life, so you know it’s going to be worth it.
So, find out here the tips on how to empower seniors in aged care:
- Rethinking The Definition Of Aging
The first step of senior empowerment comes with the caretaker. In many cultures, the elderly are revered because they provide knowledge and are the primary decision-maker in their tribe, like the Indigenous Australian tribe. In the typical Western culture, it’s the opposite. They value youth more than old age.
So, to empower seniors, one must reduce ageism — referred to as discrimination against the elderly due to negative stereotypes— from their mindset. Instead of focusing on what the elderly can’t do, try seeing how much insight and wisdom they can provide. One must acknowledge that seniors still have their contribution to society. Shifting your perspective can significantly influence your behaviors around the elderly, and you might change their perspective about themselves, too.
- Helping Them To Connect With Others
Loneliness due to isolation is one of the issues the elderly deal with once they lose their ability to move and their support network, such as their friends, pass away. To socially connect with others is a requirement to maintain a sense of well-being. That’s why the community has a significant role in supporting the elderly. Establish a friendly community of seniors in aged care to do this. Being constantly involved in social events can be empowering to the elderly.
- Staying Active
No matter what limitations aging gives to older people, it would help them think of ways to become active. Of course, you have to consider their safety and comfort levels first before doing anything. Talk about the activities they once loved doing but made accessible to them. If the elderly have some disabilities, you can choose from these activities to help them stay active:
- Going for a walk
- Chair yoga
- Visiting gardens
- Assisted dancing
- Assisting with cooking
These activities can help them promote a healthy weight and might help reduce the effects of their aging. A sound mind and a healthy body can empower them.
- Letting Them Help Others
Seniors driven by a purpose or in a position to help others are more likely to stay happier and healthier. Giving back to people can help lessen feelings of stress, promoting a good mood for the elderly. This might be one of the things that will help them feel empowered.
But, if their condition prevents them from volunteering for specific causes in person, help them find ways from the comfort of the aged care facilities. You can provide the supplies for knitting blankets for the homeless, or they can assist you in baking pastries for children. They can even donate a small sum of money to a charity if they’re able to. Those are some things to start with, but you can always come up with creative ideas on how they can help in their own way.
- Establishing A Routine
A routine is a planned-out framework that helps seniors to manage their daily tasks. This could include the time for waking, dressing, brushing teeth, drinking medicine, eating meals, exercising, and even going to bed. A schedule will provide structure to their day, which, in turn, will make them feel stable.
Note that when making the schedule, you should always consult the involved person, in this case, the senior. Including them in the planning process will help them feel confident and empowered.
Empowering the elderly in aged care can positively impact their lives because it will lessen their stress by staying active, socializing, and having a purpose. The primary goal of senior empowerment is that they feel that they can still make their own decisions even though their conditions hinder them from doing so.
The aged care should provide their basic needs like food and medicine, but they should also give their condition to be supported emotionally. That way, they could live the rest of their days happy and satisfied.