Successful aging in the home should go further than simply meeting basic care needs. It should allow an aging loved one to remain as joyful and active at home as possible so that his or her life is honored and higher quality experiences are still attainable. Using spirit-centered care is a great way to get loved ones “back into the game,” so to speak.
What is spirit-centered care? Beyond basic care, it treats each person as an individual by centering around his or her life story. The sole focus is enhancing the person’s life in personal ways. For example, matching an in-home caregiver from a similar lifestyle perspective provides instant conversation topics and a sense of comfort. In such an example, placing a somewhat older male caregiver with an elderly veteran to provide in-home care has been shown to facilitate more lively conversations and re-engagement on the part of the veteran as the two men swap “war” stories. The effects of such interactions can be to:
Achieve more positive emotional states for the senior when someone is truly interested in hearing their life stories and experiences
Boost self-confidence and more of a sense of independence
Renew a sense of purpose and meaning to one’s life
Assist in recovering some long-lost memories (even if temporary). Helps to remind the elderly what they still have to offer the younger generations regarding life’s lessons
Create a sense of well-being for people who suffer from chronic illness
Help to regain some physical abilities
Alleviate boredom and lack of motivation
Creating Something Meaningful out of the Mundane
Too often, daily living activities such as eating and bathing are mundane and can turn into battles of the wills when an elderly senior doesn’t want to bathe or get dressed that morning. Spirit-centered care and enriching activities help change the perception in a positive way for a senior. Take for example the morning or evening bathing routine. Turning it into a spa experience for the senior with all the trimmings, including candles, music or aromatherapy can transform the bath into an enjoyable and relaxing event to look forward to.
Another area perfect for incorporating spirit-centered care is around food. Food and the act of cooking have powerful meaning to many older adults. Food defines culture, family history and traditions, and is also connected to feelings of love, pleasure, family and celebrations. Shopping together at a leisurely pace in a grocery store can turn into a treasured outing. In addition to cooking with the caregiver, seniors may enjoy walking a faraway family member through making a favorite dish over the phone, using a speaker phone or Skype.
There are countless ways to incorporate spirit-centered care into the home care experience. At AAging Better, we strive to always incorporate a person’s individual interests and needs into a thoughtful Plan of Care that creates a healthy and fulfilling daily or weekly routine for the senior or disabled individual. Caregivers at AAging Better In-Home Care work with the family and their loved ones to create an enriching and uplifting home care experience. It’s one of the most critical components we bring to every client under our care. If you would like to learn more about our philosophy and what we can bring to you or your loved one, please contact us today to learn more.
We can be reached in the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Hayden areas at 208-777-0308; in the Sandpoint, Priest River, or Bonners Ferry areas at 208-263-7889; and in the Pinehurst, Kellogg or Wallace areas at 208-784-1505.