Senior Care and Ways to Show Empathy
Whether you’re a professional caregiver or a concerned family member, senior care asks a lot of us emotionally. But it’s important to remember how seniors receiving care feel as well. Showing empathy for loved ones and residents is key to happiness and health – and not just theirs, but yours, too. Caring and empathy aren’t exactly the same thing but being more empathetic will make you a better caregiver. So let’s take a closer look at ways to show empathy to older adults.
Why Empathy for the Elderly Matters
It’s all too common for seniors, especially those with chronic health problems, to feel invisible – and like their emotions, opinions and preferences don’t matter. Our youth-oriented culture can exclude older adults, especially those with health issues. But being sidelined from being an active member of society has real effects on the psyche and depression is a common result of this societal sentiment toward the elderly.
It’s really this simple: older adults are just like you, with the same thoughts and feelings and needs. And just like you, they need to feel like their life matters. That they have more to give. Showing empathy for their feelings of isolation and exclusion means treating them like you would treat anybody else.
Since they’re similar emotions, it can be easy to get empathy and sympathy mixed up. The main difference is that you feel sympathy for others when they experience things you’ve also experienced in your life. Empathy asks a little more; it requires that you put yourself in the shoes of someone with a background and experiences unlike your own.
How Do You Show Empathy in Words and Actions?
Showing empathy for someone is a highly personal thing, but the best way to start is by truly listening to someone. When they’re talking about something that’s affecting them physically or emotionally, lean in and ask questions. Why do they feel that way? How can you help? Don’t try to solve every problem but listen actively and show you find their concerns important.
Try to find out what really matters to them. Are they concerned with the way their world is shrinking due to limited abilities? Are they losing friends? Wishing they could try something new? Feeling melancholy about being near the end of life? You can’t fix some of the negative emotions that come with aging, but you can let them know someone cares, and that means a lot. Encouraging their continued growth is the primary goal.
Empathy Drives Us at Country Gardens
Every member of our team – from custodians to caregivers to administrators – shares the singular mission to serve seniors. We firmly believe that every person deserves to be treated with kindness, empathy and expert care. That’s what informs our person-first, personalized living experience that accounts for each resident’s unique history and preferences.
Learn more about how we deliver an excellent assisted living lifestyle to seniors in and around the Muskogee area by reading about our amenities. To find a place for you or someone you love contact us today. A member of our team will get in touch shortly.