When orienting newly hired home health aides, one should always stress the problems and uniqueness of the situation that they will be encountering. What they should NOT expect to find is a smiling, polite, sweet and considerate patient behind that apartment door. What they WILL find is a grumpy, complaining senior citizen.
But, why? The aide has tried her best to be kind, considerate and attend to all of the patient’s needs. What they may not understand is that the assigned patient is in pain, discomfort and the aide represents an increasing and further loss of independence. It is helpful to remember that old age is a time of a series of losses and the senior citizen must adjust to each one. These losses include: loss of health; loss of loved ones; loss of status through retirement; loss of sexuality, and, in most cases, tighter budget constraints. Most important of all, they are experiencing a substantial loss of independence.
On medicinenet.com, Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH and Charles P. Davis, MD, PhD detail various social issues that affect the life and health of seniors. They cite: loneliness from losing a spouse and friends; inability to independently manage regular activities of living; difficulty coping and accepting physical changes of aging; frustration with ongoing medical problems and increasing number of medications; social isolation as adult children are engaged in their own lives; feeling inadequate from inability to continue to work; boredom from retirement and lack of routine activities, and financial stresses from the loss of regular income.
The elderly have the onerous task of adjusting to dramatic lifestyle changes under compromising circumstances. Given all that these seniors have to deal with, it would seem that these older people have a perfect right to be short tempered. With some understanding on the part of the rest of us, we have the ability to change the whole paradigm. Who says the elderly are “set in their ways”? They actually bear their lot with a great deal of grace and skill.
At David York Agency we are sensitive to the stresses of the elderly and are quite mindful of the losses they suffer. We train our home health aides to be sensitive as well. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on the web www.davidyorkagency.com to learn more about what we offer.