Discuss how family members can be included as partners in care for the older person
Family members can have a very significant role in the care of the older person whether it be at home or in a nursing home. If the older person is been cared for at home it is very important that the home is a safe environment, this will help to promote the feeling of security for the older person. The family can do this by maybe installing an alarm system or giving the older person an alarm that they wear. Communication is of vital importance when dealing with the care of an older person, this includes a range of things, family members should encourage an active lifestyle based on the older person’s ability this could be through coffee mornings, aqua aerobics, short walks, bingo etc. This can help to promote feelings of inclusion and self-worth. Family members can help support and maintain independence for the older person, by allowing the person to do what they are able to do and only assist when necessary this can avoid learned helplessness. Family members should try and accompany the older person shopping or GP visits and social activities if they have the ability to go themselves this should be promoted. Family members can also encourage the older person to talk and maybe discuss the end of life wishes, any fear or anxiety they may be having, this can also help the family members to maybe gain some insight to how the person is feeling and also maybe explain some of their behaviours. Family members where possible can try and validate some of their worries and fears and reassure them that their end of life wishes will be carried out where possible. Family members can also try to keep the older person involved in family occasions and keep them updated on family matters this can help to promote and help them maintain their autonomy by including them in decisions of cognitive. It is important that family members educate themselves about illness and the impact it may have on a person if the older person has been diagnosed with a condition for e.g. dementia. This can help the family to understand its effect and behavioural changes it can have on the person. It can help the family to learn how to manage the illness and the correct responses. If the older person needs mobility aids or maybe a hoist in the home, it is profoundly important that family members have had training on how to use these, as misuse could cause serious injury to the family member or the older person.
If the older person is been cared for in a nursing home nearly all of the above still applies. The family members should still try to be as involved as they can, if the older person needs assisted feeding, a family member could maybe try and be there at mealtimes. In a nursing home, the older person can feel very anxious as they have been taken away from their home and everything that is familiar to them, it can help to try and make their room personal to them. This can be achieved by decorating the room with familiar objects from home like pictures, blankets and cushions etc. In a nursing home setting, it can make the transition a little easier if the family contribute to the care plan for the older person as in most circumstances the family knows best in regards to the older person likes, dislikes, values and beliefs.
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