5 Domestic Helper Skills To Look After Elderly
Population ageing has left Hong Kong with more than a million elders. It is not a surprise that a lot of domestic helpers are hired by families which need an extra hand to help taking care of the seniors.
Yet, looking after elders requires a separate set of skills differs from that for kids. The following lists out the 5 important skills that a domestic helper should have when attending to the elderly.
1. Skills for physiotherapy, arthritic care and massage
Like the chains and gears of an old, unoiled clockwork, the muscles, tendons, and joints of most elderly people move without smoothness. Seniors often suffer from arthritic discomfort such as muscle soreness, frequent joint pain, difficulty in walking and other bodily movements.
While these conditions should be taken care of by clinical doctors, families rely on their domestic helper as they spend a lot more time with the elders.
So, it will be a plus for domestic helpers who has some knowledge in physiotherapy and arthritics, and more importantly, knows how to alleviate bodily discomfort by providing massage or stretching assistance.
2. First-aid skills
Besides having weak bones and muscles, elders’ skin is less elastic. This means they can easily get wounds if they get scratched.
Besides, their reflexes and senses are slower, which makes it harder for them to avoid danger and getting hurt.
First-aid knowledge and skills, then, come in handy. Domestic helper with such a skill set is able to attend to cuts and wounds which may develop into an infection if left ignored. Having wounds cured saves the elder a lot of pain and annoyance and possibly the family a lot of medical fees.
In the worst-case scenario, the elder you are taking care of may suffer from life-threatening conditions all of a sudden. The common ones include faint and heart attack.
Having first-aid skills is critical for these moments as it determines if the elder can be saved or not. It is also best to keep a first-aid kit at home for families with elders.
3. Skills for administering medication
Elders often need to take medicine or vitamin pills on a daily basis. Yet, sometimes they may not have a clear memory that they forgot how many pills they should take or whether they have taken the pill already for the day. This situation can become a life-or-death situation if the elder does not take or takes too much medicine.
For this reason, you should also have the skill to keep track of the elder’s usage of drugs, and ideally, their medical needs and history as well. Knowing these enables you to communicate with your employer and possibly the doctor if the elder is seeing one.
4. Listening skills
Elders can be awfully talkative as they ramble about past glories, judgements for the present, and complains about trivial problems. Such behaviour is understandable as they may not have someone to talk to before you came to take care of them. They feel rejected and isolated.
The best way to face a chatty elder is to be patient and polite, as it is not a good idea to tell them to shut it. Be more understanding and accommodating to make the elder comfortable and feels loved again.
5. Conversational skills
Conversation is not just about listening, it is also about engaging in talking. Elderly people can at times be very sentimental or at times resemble a child and they prefer storytelling over logical explanations or strict instructions.
Therefore, when explaining things to them, you may want to add in some humour, little stories, or analogies so that they are more likely to remember or to understand. In general, you should have engaging conversational ability and a pleasant personality.
Having these skills means a lot, at least to the elder. You never know when will you need it, especially first-aid knowledge. So if you are planning to work for an employer who needs you to take care of the senior of the family, it is best to acquire these 5 skills before you start your employment.