Preserving The Dignity Of Your Elderly Loved Ones

As your parent ages, you may feel as if your roles have been reversed. You become the responsible adult, as your mom or dad increasingly relies on you to take care of them. They depend on you for more help in both advanced and more basic life functions, and if they have slipped into dementia, you may find the lines even more blurred. As your parents become more frail, there are two realities in place. Irrespective of their condition or the behaviors they exhibit:

  • They are still adults.
  • They still deserve respect.

Whether you care for your loved ones yourself, use the services of NY home health aides and other professionals, or admit them to a nursing home or other facility, you must be an advocate for their rights and dignity. Just because your parent has lost some independence, mobility, and mental functioning does not mean they have lost their worth as a human being. Even if they feel powerless to get their earlier life back, they are conscious of whether they are cared for or abused, loved or tolerated, and regarded as someone of value or worthless.

Selecting Home Health Care Services With The Elder’s Dignity In Mind

When you select a caregiver, you should look for signs that the home healthcare agency or elder facility promotes the dignity of your parent. Most agencies or facilities that work with seniors claim to be compassionate and empowering, but you should check references by talking to others who use the service beforehand and observe how your loved one is doing after the fact. If you find that your mom or dad is more depressed, looks disheveled, or exhibits new behavior problems, you may be witnessing signs of care that is administered without regard to their dignity.

Here are a few things to look for both in a potential caregiver and in your parent to alert you that they are not being treated with the dignity you expect:

  • How does the caregiver address your parent? They should be called “Mrs. Taylor” or “Mary,” not “honey,” “dearie,” or “sweetie.” While these can be terms of endearment, they can also indicate that the caregiver is infantilizing them.
  • Has your parent’s appearance changed? If your mother no longer dresses up every day, attends to her hair, and puts on makeup, this may be a sign that the caregiver is not taking the time to help your mom maintain her appearance. Most people feel better when they look great.
  • Does your parent seem less willing or able to do what they can for themselves? If their health is deteriorating, they may need more help, but a change of attitude could also mean that the helper is not willing to take the time to let them do what they can. Being involved in decision-making and allowing a person to feel a sense of accomplishment is important in any age.
  • Do you see indications that they are ignored, verbally abused, or otherwise mistreated? Even though home health aides and overburdened hospital staff may be busy, it is reasonable for you to expect that the caregiver pays attention to what your parent is asking and respond with politeness and compassion in word and deed. Older people can be as demanding and difficult as anyone else, but these behaviors are not an excuse for an inappropriate response.

Treatment With Dignity At SelectCare Of New York

At SelectCare New York, we make every effort to hire staff with impeccable credentials and a track record of compassionate care. We know that many of our clients need companionship and encouragement as well as medical and/or personal care assistance, and we pride ourselves on finding personnel who are friendly and who enjoy working with our clients. When we work with a client, we endeavor to match them with a staff member who has just the right personality to assure a good working relationship. Our field staff evaluates the caregiver in the field to offer you extra assurance that your loved one is being treated with the ultimate respect.

Interested in seeing how SelectCare of New York provides home health care services that are just right for your parent? Contact us today for a complementary in-home needs assessment by filling out our website form, or by calling us at 212-505-3640