If you’re interested in starting a new career where you work with the elderly, you may find yourself both excited about the prospect of being of service to those of another generation while also being nervous about your skills or abilities to do a good job in this profession.
For those who find themselves in this boat, here are three tips for starting a new career working the elderly, be it in a medical setting, in an assisted living facility, or something entirely different.
Practice Speaking With This Demographic
While you may have experience working with people from previous positions, if you’ve never spent a lot of time conversing with people who are nearing the end of their life, you may want to practice how to best communicate with this group.
According to Dr. Thomas E. Robinson II, Dr. George L. White Jr., and Dr. John C. Houchins, contributors to AAFP.org, the words you use and how you speak these words will likely have to change as you communicate with the eldelry. Generally, you’ll want to speak much louder and slower when speaking to the elderly, as they often can’t hear as well as those who are younger. Additionally, you should try to use simple sentences and stay with speaking about just one topic at a time so that nothing is missed or lost in translation.
Focus On The Relationship
Although it’s never wise to treat anyone as if they’re just another customer, client, or just a number to you, this is especially important to avoid when working with the elderly.
For many older people, it’s hard to get to know others and trust that they have their best interest at heart. So to help them come to this understanding, Dr. Stacey Wood, a contributor to Psychology Today, advises that you really spend time getting to know people in an older demographic on a personal level. As you focus on this relationship, you’ll find that you can better anticipate their needs and help them in the ways that they require.
Learn To Pick Your Battles
At this stage in life, many elderly people feel like they’re lost some of their autonomy. As a result, they can often push back about things that they want to have control over, which can often make your job more difficult.
To work through this, the staff at the Mayo Clinic suggests that you learn to pick your battles. If there’s something that you want to have happen but it’s not worth fighting over, try to give in when you can. But when something really needs to take place, use your energy fighting those really important battles or arguments.
If you’re going to be starting a new career where you’ll be working closely with the elderly, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you prepare for this type of work.