Caring for the elderly comes in many forms. There’s the option to have a dedicated nurse or caregiver to look after a senior family member, ask an immediate relative to oversee daily living tasks, or hire a specialized 24-hour home care service provider. But, no matter which method of caring for the elderly it is, everything must consider one critical factor: the elderly person’s dignity — more specifically, the act of preserving it.
The Difference in Eras Matter
Baby boomers grew up in an era entirely different from ours. Today’s society is marred by a constant influx of stories about pain, tragedy, and loss of life. In turn, it can be safe to say that a number of people nowadays have become desensitized to the core moral values taught to them as kids.
Baby boomers, on the other hand, were primarily raised in accordance with the Golden Rule — treat others the way they want themselves to be treated. That same concept stuck with our grandparents until they grew gray, and they’re not likely to part from it. And it’s worth noting that one of the core values that were taught in accordance with the Golden Rule is human dignity. In caring for seniors, it’s among the topmost priorities.
Aging makes the elderly face the reality that dignity might already lost to them. It can be extremely tough for them to accept that they’ll no longer be able to stand, walk, play sports, eat, or even bathe on their own. Worse, the need to depend on someone else in doing even the most menial tasks can take a toll on their psyche. After all, they’ve looked after their families for decades, usually all on their own.
What Care Providers Are Doing (and Are Urged to Do)
A study published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being presents something worth noting. In it, it was shown that care providers consider the elderly patient’s dignity as a core health value. The results were derived after analyzing 15 focus group interviews involving care providers.
According to the care providers involved in the study, dignity consists of three main themes: autonomy, identity, and worthiness. The study revealed the importance of these themes and how they reflect the main principles of the nursing practice.
Senior citizens need every bit of support as they live out this phase of their lives. At the end of the day, it’s the same old Golden Rule that should apply when caring for the elderly — words that embody the beauty of basic human decency.