Current Activities in Long Term Care
By Kate Lynch, Editor  www.activities4elders.com/
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An important part of your caregiving tasks: Making your
residents feel desirable and important

Many elders, unfortunately, have the feeling that no one wants to be around them
anymore.  Gone are the energy, vigorous personality, and good looks of their younger
years… and everywhere around them are images of young, attractive, busy people. And
in this hectic, youth-driven society, who has time to do anything with the older folks?

As a caregiver, one of your most important “duties” is to make your elders feel wanted
and important in their later years.

After all, inside that aging body may be a smart, sparkling personality, with lots of
valuable information, friendship, and wisdom yet to give… and with the same desires to
be appreciated and needed as everyone has.

So: Make them feel good about themselves; let them know that they’re still a valued
member of society and an important part of your facility, and that you really enjoy being
around them!

Here are some tips on how to do that every day:  

1. Don’t act like you’re in a hurry. Of course, you probably are in a hurry. But still, slow
down, and make your residents feel that you have time for them. After all, residents aren’
t likely to feel good about themselves when everyone wants out of their room as quickly
as possible… especially their caregivers.

2. Use comfort touch whenever possible. Not everyone likes the changes that age
brings to their body. Some residents may even feel ugly, especially if nobody seems to
want to hug them or touch them anymore. Taking a moment to offer a hug, or just
simply holding their hand, can do wonders for boosting your elders’ self-esteem and
feelings of being wanted. Do it often.

3. Ask for your elders’ opinion on things. When someone wants to hear our point of
view, it makes us feel important… and this is certainly true for your elders. And
remember this: they have a lifetime of learning, know-ledge, and wisdom to talk about.
Much of it can be very valuable to the younger generation. So listen to what they have to
say. Who knows? You might get some ideas that give your career or personal life a
much-needed boost!

4. Give compliments, and not just about looks. It’s nice to receive a compliment about a
sweater or a hairdo, but a compliment about personality is even better. If a resident has
a good sense of humor, is kind to other people, or is good at solving problems, tell
them so. Compliments about who we are inside can be just as important as
compliments about the way we look.

5. Make eye contact. Good eye contact with your residents is very important in your
caregiving activities. Good eye contact makes people feel they matter to you. Don’t
forget to look at residents. Sit at their eye level while you talk, if necessary, and look
them straight in the eyes.

6. Chat with residents. Find out about their interests, hobbies, profession, and so on,
and bring up those subjects whenever possible. And then... be good listener! Being a
good listener is one of the most important caregiver qualities of all!

A Closer Look:

  • Do you ever stop to realize just how important you are in the life of your elders?
    Think about it… for many of them, you are the person they see most often, most
    of the time, all day long.
  • You’re one of their main sources of conversation, advice, and information.
  •  Plus, you may also represent their main contact with the “younger generation”
    … which many of them are keenly interested in maintaining.
  •  So being their “confidant” and source of social interaction is really one of your
    most important functions as a longterm caregiver.
  • You’re very important to their well-being, happiness, and quality of life.

Discussion:

  1. Do you take this part of your job seriously?
  2. Do you spend caring, quality time with your residents?
  3. Do you show real interest in your conversations with your residents… frequently?

That’s your job… be interested in them, enjoy talking to them, and make them feel that
they’re truly important in your life… and wanted.