When Did You Start with Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care and Why?
It was 6 years ago. I saw an ad about caregiving in the paper and thought it would give me a chance to help other people. Since my children and grandchildren were grown, I had been looking for a way to feel needed again. This job has allowed me to help people and feel needed at the same time and that feels good. I enjoy caring for seniors with limited mobility and that are confined to their beds.
What Activities Do You Do To Help Seniors?
I often help seniors with limited mobility or who are confined to their beds. I encourage them to move their bodies in their chair or bed, to keep exercising their muscles, and drink lots of water. We do leg kicks, knee lifts, and arm exercises. It is important that seniors keep up their muscle strength to get up out of their chair and bed.
I encourage seniors to socialize and it is important to keep their minds active. I will play cards with them or checkers, or read, or do a crossword. Sometimes I will take them on a walk to get them out of the house. It is nice to give other people in the house a break and some space.
I enjoy exercise so much that I started a senior exercise class at my church. It became more than an exercise group; it was a support group. Caring for seniors with limited mobility is my passion.
What Is A Typical Visit Like?
Every morning I begin by talking to my senior. We visit for a while and then I start my jobs. I will prepare a meal and do the dishes and dust and clean the floors. I change the bedsheets at least once a week. And I help with the laundry. I always stay close by and chat with the senior as I work. Before I leave, I will spend time with them playing a game, chatting, or doing exercises.
Tell Us About A Special Senior You Have Worked With
There was a gentleman I cared for that had the same first and middle name as my father. I was with him every week for several years. We became very close and it was a challenge playing checkers with him because we both played to win. Sometimes we had long games and it made both of us use our minds. He would high five me when I won, so you know he won most of the games.
What Have You Learned Working with Seniors?
Seniors know the basics of life. They all have different stories to tell. You can learn a lot of things to use in your own life if you listen.
I have also learned that it is much easier to provide care for someone when you are not related. When you provide care for a family member, they can become easily angry with you. However, seniors I work with are glad to have me there and appreciate what I do for them.
What Are Some of Your Fondest Memories Of Caregiving?
Learning how to provide care for seniors with limited mobility was fascinating. The first senior I cared for was a retired nurse and her husband was a retired doctor. They shared so much of their knowledge and experience with me. She was limited to her bed. I would roll her over, move her up in bed, change the bed, and give her a bath. She received palliative care from the nurse who also showed me what she was doing to provide care. I enjoyed learning everything and being part of her care team.
How Do You Care for Someone With Memory Problems?
My mother had Alzheimer’s and I was her caregiver. Once when transferring my mom, I told her to put her arms around my neck, and she said, “No. That hurts my neck.” That is when I realized she reversed things. A person with Alzheimer’s thinks differently than we do. Their world is different. So, if she hit or kicked at me she would tell people I was doing that to her. She was seeing the situation in reverse. After realizing my mom was reversing what she was seeing and doing it gave me more patience with her. It is important to not argue and keep them calm and occupied. Music is very soothing and helps calm them.
What Would You Like to Share With Other Caring for Seniors with Limited Mobility And Potential Clients?
Learn as much as you can about how to help care for the senior you are helping. Ask their family members to show you how they provide care. Ask the owners, or other health care workers for tips or techniques they may use to give better or safer care for your senior. Keep learning.
For clients, it is important to try to have a relationship with your caregiver. Get to know them. It will make a big difference in the care you receive.