Challenges You’ll Face Working With The Elderly

Challenges You'll Face Working With The Elderly

Working with elderly people is not your typical job but it can be a very rewarding experience. There are a lot of challenges that you may face that simply aren’t present in other jobs. This is something to think about if you are considering becoming a carer or personal support worker. If you are already working in this field, then you are probably aware of the struggles and challenges mentioned below.  It can be a great career choice for those that like to help others and work one on one, but keep in mind the struggles that you may have to face and the best ways to handle them.

Unwilling To Ask For Help

You might find yourself working with an elderly person who will not ask for help. There are a number of reasons why this could be the case. Either, they believe they do not need help or they might be reluctant to give up the independence they have had for so many years. Or they might know that they need help but they could be too embarrassed to ask. In this situation, it is important to apply a gentle touch. You should not force them to accept your care, but instead gently help them from a distance. However, you should always be able to step in if you think there is a hazard or danger apparent. If you are working in in-home care, you would be surprised what eighty and ninety-year-olds believe they can do themselves.

Dealing With Dementia

If you are working with someone who has dementia, it could be difficult for you as well as the individual. They may not always know who you are or recognize that you are there to help. This can be troubling for you and horrifying for them. You must offer patience in these situations. Dementia often presents itself in lapses of understanding. Eventually, a patient will remember who you are and as long as you remain calm, the situation will resolve itself. One idea is that can help is if you write cards and post notes with the person you are caring for as little reminders. This can help them remember things more quickly and also give them more independence when they are looking for something around the home.

Personal Care And Treatment

When working with the elderly, you will find yourself in a position where you need to give higher levels of personal care. You will receive training for this on aged care courses if you are at the beginning of your career. But, you may still be unprepared when it comes to actually helping people go to the bathroom or helping them clean themselves. Try to remember, a patient might find this embarrassing and you must do everything you can to make the situation easier for them. Imagine yourself in their shoes, losing the independence they once had.

Attachment

As a carer personal support worker, you might find that you form an emotional attachment to the people you are working with. This can be a positive as you will often be willing to give them more time and support. But it can also have negative effects too. If you are emotionally attached to a patient watching them deal with dementia can be heartbreaking. As well as this, you may find it difficult to cope if they pass away. When this happens, it is important to seek counseling if you feel you need it and get the support that you need as well.

I have close family members who are personal support workers and find it both tough but rewarding at the same time. They would not change their chosen career path for any other.  If you are looking for a career change, or still trying to figure out what line of work you may be well suited for, perhaps give this line of work some consideration.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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