Working for the Seniors

Working for the Seniors

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While many of us do not like to think that we are getting old, old age is inevitable. Old age in a sense makes us vulnerable to many things including chronic illnesses, lost of vitality and independence, and other things affecting their autonomy.  As people age, their needs become greater in some ways because physicality and cognition may be slowing down. This requires different approaches, as not all seniors’ needs are identical to their counterparts. As such, dependency on human service workers may be evident at some juncture.  The human service professional has the power to help the individual maintain or keep as much as possible their autonomy regardless of how small their independence may be.

   Some of us despite our good health and physicality may at some point in life experience individual dependence on others for reasons that like automobiles, the human body at some point loses its luster and strength.  However Unlike cars, we cannot exchange our bodies for new ones (despite plastic surgeries and physical appearance enhancements) and thus, hope that as we age, our aging does not affect us in ways limiting our health and complete agility. Aside from health deficits, barriers grow and become permanent existence for some. Some barriers include accessing certain places.  Some senior citizens cannot walk and explore their environment and it is not always easy to address environmental modifications; limiting access. Their ability to walk distances, climb stairs, navigate their health care needs and other obligations controls them without their input and navigation. Other barriers some seniors encounter include loss of dignity whereupon some seniors are covertly stripped of their rights by family members, including their children.  Those without children may find themselves enduring manipulation by extended family members and sometimes those not linked by blood in a form of extortion. As a former worker providing services to seniors (visiting nurse) I was at the forefront bearing witness to some of my patients requiring additional assistance from family members who failed at working within the best interest of their family members. My patients in many cases voices were stifled to some degree base on a family member navigating his/her wishes on behalf of the patient rather than inquiring from the patient his/her thoughts on how they were being affected by treatment.

    Empowerment of this population involves education.  I think it is imperative to share with family members, workers and agencies providing services the importance of implementing personal outcome measures for seniors.  It is important to find out from them what they want done when it comes to their overall health and wellbeing. In some cases, they are easily viewed as if they are helpless children because of the changes affecting them related to age. However, it is vital to stress that they should still have a say as to what occurs with them, when, and why.   

    The Department of Elderly Affairs is instrumental with as a gatekeeper.  Hospitals work closely with senior homes including Assisted Living facilities and Nursing Homes.  Some private citizens are screened by their state of residency and are authorized /licensed to provide homecare services to seniors requiring assistance in their homes or the caregiver’s home. Many social agencies provide a plethora of services such as meals on wheels to ensure seniors requiring nutritional supports get meals to keep their nutrition balance and at the same time providing some social interaction.

    As most of the baby boomers are caring for their aging parents, there is an increase in the demand for the geriatric nurses. also, the appreciation of their services is growing positively in many parts of the world, and especially in the United States. Based on the data provided by the Nurse Competence in Elderly initiative by the American Nurses Association, people above the age of 65 years constitute 90% of the nursing home residents with 48% as patients in health care institutions and 80% receiving these services at their homes. According to the predicted trend, it is anticipated that the number of nurses providing this care will increase by approximately 9000 after three years. Based on information offered by the Department of the Health and Human Services in the United States, the career in working with the seniors is gratifying as well as promising.

    Given the sensitivity in handling the aging people, a delicate and sympathetic touch is needed for one to succeed in this position. Handling the elderly people is equivalent to that of infants. In most of the situations, the seniors suffer from their inabilities to feed as well as their inconsistenties in making decisions. the senior nurse of the Wyndhamere Senior Living Campus, Peggi Seamen’s stated that,  “Remember one thing, they are just like you — they like to visit with friends, go to the movies, meet for lunch, they’re just older. Be patient, encourage them to stay active and be a good listener. They are very special and have lived long and colorful lives.” also, she said, “Working with seniors can be very rewarding”(“Best Caregivers Traits in Senior Living,” 2013).


    The biggest challenges which the nurses encounter are physical. The daily activities like waking up, bathing and taking a walk can be hard to some of the senior patients. This is the reason why the geatric caregivers should have the ability of handling injuries as well as falls in an effective way. Based on the statement of Seamen, “Many seniors have problems with vision, hearing, balance or cognitive skills,” says Semmens. “I have to be patient, speak clearly and slowly, and I often write down the instructions I have for them.” Moreover, the nurse at the Chelsea Retirement Community Center, Anne Carbine said, “It takes my best attitude not to feel guilty because I am on my feet all day long, I do not put out the sheer physical and emotional effort (nurses aides) do. I’ve gotten hit, scratched and spit on, for sure, but I can walk away, and many times do, to attend some other situation” (“Best Caregivers Traits in Senior Living,” 2013).


    Engaging in a career for caring for the seniors involves various qualities. These attributes have the aim of ensuring that the elderly are able to adjust to their new environments, associate with others freely as well as be treated with respect and kindness. People should appreciate the services offered by the senior caregivers who take their time to work with the aging and competent to exemplify their qualities.

    For an individual to relate well with the aging people, it is important to show confidence and sound judgment in their tasks. This attribute implies that the caregivers have to be aware of what an elder may not have the ability to verbal communication. According to Amanda E., an employee of the Rittenhouse Senior Living in Indiana, the caregiver should have the ability of identifying the symptoms of stress among the seniors and assist them where necessary. Also, it is critical to be attentive to the instructions and recognize other needs of the elderly. This ability takes confidence, courage and focus to support the seniors effectively as well as understand their requirements.

    Generation and sustenance of welcoming and nurturing environment is another quality that the caregiver should uphold all the time.This attribute is enhanced by creation of of happy, safe and warm environment for the seniors. For instance, Cathy Emeritus of Woodstock in Georgia, is popular for her smile when greeting the seniors and their family members every moment they meet. According to her supervisor, Kimberly Taylor, “Cathy leads an exercise class each morning and the residents are so eager to work out and be with her that they come looking for her before class begins. The residents and their family members love Cathy(“Best Caregivers Traits in Senior Living,” 2013)

    People working for the seniors should treat them with dignity. This action implies that they have to consider it a privilege caring for the elders by respecting their opinions as well as involving them in their decisions. This kind of treatment should also be extended to their families because they are the foundation to this opportunity.

    Most of the research studies have established that successful caregivers handling the seniors are creative when undertaking their duties. This strategy is effective if they use different approaches to the elderly. For instance, at Aspen House in Loveland, Maria is referred as dementia whisperer. She uses different approaches when caring for ten old ladies suffering from the disease such as playing music to make her patients happy and minimize their frustrations.

    Working for this population also requires training and experience. It is importance for the geriatric nurses to undertake courses which will inspire their patients and train others on the core strategies of handling the seniors. Furthermore, it is vital for the caregivers identify that incorporating the members of the family into the elders care has a role to play in the effectiveness of their tasks. This step involves understanding their history about the senior’s past experiences, health and to unite them if there was poor treatment initially.

    Most of the seniors find it difficult to adjust to the environment in the nursing homes. Regardless of whether they have good caregivers they may not accept their current situation. Notable employees in this sector have strategies of removing the aging from this shell. They establish ways of making the transition easier and sweeter different from the services initially offered. Also, they go beyond the descriptions of their jobs by having awareness that this work is a calling and is not similar to others. It is difficult to operate alone in offering services to the seniors. This work involves team performance as many employees are integral part of the care.Also, they pinch-hit if it is unavoidable through covering of shifts without request.

    From my analysis as well as experience in caring for the seniors, it is clear that this population requires adequate attention in all the aspects. This strategy needs the intervention of all the institutions and individuals inclusive of the government, the family, the nursing home, as well as, caregiver relating directly with the seniors. With the application of effective approaches about caring for this group, then they can derive benefits from our services.


“Best Caregivers Traits in Senior Living” (2013). Retrieved from

Burger, W. (2011). Human Services in Contemporary America. 9th Edition. New York, New York.