Seniors are starting to take a more active role in their own treatment these days. Being more involved in their own care plans can be beneficial for the elderly. It can help afford a sense of control over their own treatment, and outcomes of that treatment. They feel that they have a say in decisions that directly affect them, while providing a greater sense of independence. Deciding on, and following through with, the most effective treatment plan can be stressful for both the caregiver and patient. Here are some tips for providing effective support and managing stress throughout the treatment process.
For a treatment plan to be useful and effective it is important to have communication coming from both sides. Caregivers should lay out the treatment and objectives in an easy to follow manner. Seniors can then correspond with some specifics on what they hope to gain and achieve from the treatment. This is also a good time to discuss any aspects of the treatment the patient is not comfortable with. Allowing the patient some say in decisions about the treatment can go a long way in increasing confidence and self-worth.
It is essential to maintain a good balance between social activity and alone time for most people. Everyone sits at a different point on the introvert vs. extrovert spectrum. If your patient leans more toward extroversion they will likely need more weekly social activities. If the patient is more introverted, alone time is crucial in order to re-energize. Getting the right amount of social activity is fundamental in cultivating a relaxed and satisfying schedule, that will differ from person to person.
Comparisons to other people or your former self, are usually not helpful in the treatment process. What is important, is what can be done here and now. Focus on areas of strength:
- What are your skills?
- What are you looking to achieve?
- Areas of experience
- Areas of knowledge
- What are your hobbies/interests?
- What types of self-care are you capable of?
The main objective is to keep a positive attitude, and pay attention to the things you do well now.
Be Aware of Limitations and Restrictions
While it is important to focus on the positive and look towards the future, it is also a good idea to recognize possible limitations. For example, a healthy diet and regular exercise are a big part of most treatment plans. Some activities that have been enjoyed in the past may no longer be possible due to physical limitations. Also, favorite foods from the past may no longer fit into a new diet. Finding alternative exercises, and ways to incorporate favorite foods into dietary plans can really help the overall program. Keeping an eye on energy levels and taking appropriate breaks can also improve program success.
Celebrate any achievement in the treatment plan, no matter how small. Pointing out the positive effects helps to reinforce a sense of purpose. It aids in the feeling that you are working towards a suitable and achievable goal. Positive feelings tend improve mood in general which will ultimately result in a more effective treatment regimen.