Treating older adults with respect and deference is an important part of caring for them. Older people who need care are your clients. They are not necessarily deaf, and they are especially not dumb. Being respectful is essential in eldercare, no matter how long you've been doing it.
How you treat your clients represents how you feel about them. Shouting at your clients, rolling your eyes, and not paying attention to what they have to say is not only disrespectful - it is the exact opposite of what you are there to do.
We have all seen people dealing with the elderly in a way that is unkind, disrespectful, and quite frankly rude. As an elder care provider it is your responsibility to not only treat you clients with great levels of honor, deference, and respect but to teach other people to do the same.
Often times in order to do this we really need to become more authentic in the way we see ourselves and in the way we view our behavior. Authenticity is all about a person lining up their beliefs, their thoughts, their words, and their actions. Becoming an authentic, respectful elder care provider who treats the elderly with kindness begins with believing that the elderly deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
Three Things You Can Do To Set a Respectful Example With Your Clients.
Choosing to Believe the Elderly are Worthy of Respect
One of the best ways to create within yourself an understanding of the true value the elderly is to go visit folks who are not your clients and listen to their stories. Let me say there's a difference between hearing and listening.
Listening means you are actively engaged in knowing this person’s story. It should instill respectful questions about who they are and how they handled situations. Listening should inspire you to really begin to feel as if you know where this person is coming from.
This will provide you with two benefits. The first you will become a better and more active listener. The second is that you begin to realize that the generation you are serving have great and interesting stories to tell and whole life they lived before you ever met them.
Your client may or may not be able to tell you their stories Where they're coming from and what they've done in their lives.
However, hopefully the person who's hiring you can give you some of their background. It is not essential for you to know the background of your client. But, it makes them feel important to know you really care about not just taking care of who they are as an elderly person, but as a person in general. Secondly, it serves to remind you this person may need help now, however, at one point the person was a strong individual who served others in one way or another.
Once you begin to believe that elderly people are worthy of respect. Then you need to take control of your thoughts regarding the elderly.
Making Your Beliefs Your Thoughts
Keeping track of our thoughts can sometimes be really difficult. However, if we are going to become authentic and respectful in the way we act regarding the elderly, one thing we have to do is to make our thinking line up with our beliefs.
One way to do this is to pay close attention to how you think about what your client is saying and doing. Sometimes, it's just a little floating thought like “I wish they would be quiet.” Catch yourself thinking, and then change your thoughts. You can say something under your breath like, “What they're telling me it may not be important to me but it is to them.”
The goal here is to be respectful and service-oriented, to make sure our motive is to serve our clients rather than our own self-interest. Getting your thoughts to line up with your beliefs is very much a matter of choice and determination - making your thoughts and your beliefs align is hard work.
Aligning Your Beliefs and Thoughts Help Your Actions and Words
Once your beliefs and thoughts are aligned, often times your actions and words follow. As you work on that, there are three things that you can continually do which will help you ensure that your actions and words are following up and aligning with your beliefs and actions
- Continuously assess your actions. Examine your actions to see if you are doing what it takes to act on your beliefs. Many times we think our actions are showing. We think we have deference and are being respectful to our clients. But, our body language or attitudes don't always bear out our actions. What we believe needs to show in all the ways we interact with clients.
- Recognize your ability. Acting on your beliefs requires you to have the courage of your convictions.As a professional, it may seem you are the only one paying your client any respect. It is up to you to continually work at being the example - especially if it makes you the exception.
- Be respectful, authentic, and professional. Authenticity is a personal quest to live your life based on your beliefs, thoughts words and actions. Your professionalism is about letting your authenticity show forth in the work you do to care for your client and interact with others.