There are many older people with serious illnesses or long-term health problems. The majority of adult Americans suffer from a chronic medical condition for which they require care from a caregiver, family member, or friend. What can you do to become the best “care coach” or “care champion” you can be for an older person? Here are some tips on how you can show them you care.
Provide encouragement to the person you are caring for so that they may increase their confidence regarding their ability to cope with their treatment. Encourage them to believe that they will benefit from undergoing treatment or rehabilitation, regardless of how difficult it may be at times.
Step by step
You can encourage someone undergoing chemotherapy to drink a few sips of water or soup so they get the fluids they need, even when they are nauseous or lack appetite. Help them take just a few steps with the goal of getting to the bathroom if they have had a stroke or other mobility problem.
Be persistent in your encouragement
Continually reinforce the idea that they can eat some soup or take a short walk to the bathroom. Repetition and realistic encouragement are essential.
Recall their successes
Remind them gently that they did it yesterday and can do it again today, even if they feel it’s impossible to eat or walk today.
Compassion is a virtue
During chemotherapy or other difficult treatments, it’s sometimes best to simply sit and talk with the person you’re caring for-that will help take their mind off the process. You can also get them a milkshake if that’s all they can handle. By supporting someone who has had a stroke when they rise from a wheelchair, you can help them manage their fear of falling.
Keep unnecessary gestures to a minimum
You shouldn’t say things like “let me know if there is anything I can do” or “call me if you need anything.” When someone is sick, they are unlikely to ask for help. Provide tangible assistance.
Don’t hesitate to take action
It is never too late to do or say something. Keep in touch with someone if you learn of their illness. Don’t be shy because you’re worried about invading the privacy of the person. The person’s illness is not a secret. Don’t be afraid to contact the person or send a card. Show that you care in any way you can. It will be obvious from their response whether you helped. Getting through their treatment or dealing with an ongoing illness requires the support of their social circle.
Encourage the person
If you can, consider things that helped you overcome difficult situations in the past. It can be as simple as sharing a favorite quote from a book that gave you hope in difficult times or help you put things into perspective. You can encourage the person you’re caring for by offering encouraging words. Furthermore, you can share your experiences about things that have helped you bounce back during challenging times.
Whenever you are unsure about a procedure, ask questions
Hands-on care may be necessary, such as giving someone an injection or caring for a wound. Even if you have been instructed about the procedure previously, do not be afraid to ask questions. This type of care should not cause you any anxiety or stress, so make sure you feel comfortable and confident.