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Building Self Esteem in Seniors at the Nursing Homes

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - May 21, 2011

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Senior care is not the easiest of tasks. Taking care of seniors especially in nursing homes where elderly adults can no longer take care of themselves could require all your strength and focus. Seniors in nursing homes almost always require 24 hour supervision, personal care services like bathing, grooming and getting dressed, medical supervision and meal preparation.  The degree of difficulty and the physical demand the nursing home staff’s job requires sometimes makes them short tempered and irritable.  But one should be very careful when taking care of the seniors.  We must never vent our frustrations on them as professionals.  Instead we should even help build their self esteem.  But how does one build the senior’s self esteem?

Building Self Esteem

Considering their status in society, seniors in nursing homes tend to have low morale and self esteem.  Working on rebuilding their self esteem may be a steep climb but it is not impossible to do.  Little things like asking them or consulting them about their day to day activities would mean a lot to the seniors. Allowing them to decide on things gives them the feeling of being in control of the situation.  Give them small tasks like folding a towel gives them a sense of achievement. 

Most seniors also like to engage in conversations.  People are sociable by nature.  Growing old doesn’t take away our need to connect and interact with our fellow human beings.  In fact, the need to interact is even heightened as we grow old.  Engaging seniors in real honest to goodness conversations makes them feel that they are still part of the group. 

When you do decide to talk to the seniors, make sure you listen more.  There are many ways to know if the person you are talking to is genuinely interested in what you have to say and sensitive as they are, some seniors will easily sense your sincerity. Remembering details like names is one way of showing them that you are interested in what they have to say.  Asking follow up questions is another way of showing them that you are indeed interested in them.

Building self esteem in nursing homes takes a lot of time and effort. But once you have successfully done so, a more positive change will surely follow.  People with high self esteem exude a more positive outlook, relatively happier and are generally easier to deal with. 

Remembering that these people were once the pillars of our society will also help give the nursing home staffs the proper perspective on things.  These people are actually the same ones who paved the way for us to be able to enjoy the things that we have now.  They are our true leaders and the true forerunners who sacrificed themselves to ensure that their sons and daughters achieve their aspirations.  They were once our protectors and the same persons now who need our love and care.  Reciprocating the love and care that these people have given our generation is actually the least that we can do.

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