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  • Writer's picturePam

Blaming The Elderly By Saying They Don't Remember As An Excuse For Poor Care Must Stop.

This is something that I have spoken about many times in the past. It happens to seniors daily at many facilities and those receiving care at home. As we age, many changes occur. One of those is having a memory that is not as sharp as it might have been at twenty years old. This does not necessarily mean that they have severe memory problems or are not keenly aware of what is happening around them. It is challenging for seniors to accept these changes, and many become frustrated. It isn't very comforting when caregivers or others doubt their cognitive abilities.

Caregivers working with seniors often forget to do certain things. Perhaps they forgot to give medication or a shower that had been planned for a few days. When a person is dependent on someone else to do crucial daily living tasks, it becomes essential to count on those things happening. Most senior facilities and home health care agencies have a shortage of caregivers. They are running on minimal help. In some situations, the service is worse than before Covid-19.

What I have seen happening for some seniors is that they are being blamed for mistakes made by caregivers. They are using the excuse that the person doesn't remember. For example, when medication is missed, the caregiver or nurse might say that the senior already took it and doesn't remember. This is true sometimes, of course, but more times than not, it is false. I have a ninety-nine-year-old aunt, and her memory is about as sharp as a teenager's. When these untruths are used to excuse neglectful care, it is disrespectful and humiliating. Imagine telling someone the truth, and they assume you are lying when you are not. It is mentally abusive.

Caregivers need to be trained better about these aspects of senior care instead of just the physical ones. The mental care of seniors and how we talk to them and handle their sometimes problematic behavior is crucial to delivering quality care. If you have a senior receiving care in a facility or at home, please make sure you think about these issues before assuming what you are told is the truth. Sadly this is just too often not the case.

My mom was the recipient of this many times before she passed away, and she talked with me about the lack of respect for older people. She told me that everyone needs to realize that they will be old one day. They will be on the receiving end of care. I have worked very hard to think about these things every day when I interact with them. More training is needed to protect the dignity of the elderly.

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