In the world of caregiving, we strive to meticulously plan out every activity to ensure a stress free experience for the elderly we serve. However, the best course of action might be to just slow down and simplify our activities. Not only does slowing down reduce stress and anxiety. but it also can lead to a more enjoyable experience for both parties involved.
“Rushing and old age don’t mix, causing all kinds of tension between seniors and their caregivers. Stiff joints, muscle weakness, aches and pains, fears — whatever the reason, old age is, in the natural life cycle, a time for slowing down.”
Caring.com proposed a list of suggestions (seen below) on how to best achieve “slowness” in our fast paced world.
• Be realistic about how much time daily tasks will take. Consider small things like getting in and out of a car or climbing up and down stairs. Everything takes time, so it should all be taken into consideration when you are planning your day.
• This same concept should be applied to daily activities like eating, dressing and bathing. Everyone should have ample time to complete these tasks. When one is rushed through activities of daily living it throws the rest of their day off as well.
• Consider natural body rhythms; if the senior you care for is a morning person, then tailor their daily activities and schedule with this in mind.
As for a more philosophical angle towards slowing down, acceptance of a senior’s slower pace is integral to a stress free outing. “In most cases, seniors can’t help moving more slowly — there’s simply nothing they can do about it. If they could, they would. Accepting this, taking a deep breath, and going with the flow — even if it's slower than yours — is much easier than fighting it. Plus, there's a domino effect: When caregivers relax, the seniors they're caring for do, too.”
While it is hard for caregivers of all people to slow down a conscious and concerted effort to do so could pay dividends in the long run!