Quality of life issues are vital in elderly care circles. Whether you’re a caregiver for an elderly parent in the home or overseeing care for someone in an assisted living facility or nursing home, it’s up to caregivers, family members, and friends to ensure that our elders maintain dignity, self-respect and confidence in themselves. The best way to do that is to make sure that the elderly person or senior feels good about him or herself.
Beauty goes more than skin deep
When do you feel your best? After your morning shower and you put on your favorite power suit? Or after you walk out of the beauty salon with a great cut and style? So why should your parent feel any different, even though she might not be going to work or have any event to go to? Often, we as family caregivers forget that our elderly parents’ sense of self-esteem, self-confidence and pride in their appearance can make or break their day.
The American Health Care Association conducts a Long-Term Care Survey every year, and a major portion of surveyed care is focused on quality of life and dignity issues. The 2006 edition states, "The intention of the quality of life requirements is to specify the facility’s responsibilities toward creating and sustaining an environment that humanizes and individualizes each resident." This means, "grooming residents as they wish to be groomed." The relationship between self-esteem and health cannot be ignored. "It refers to an individual’s sense of his or her value or worth, or the extent to which a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself" (Blascovich/Tomaka, 1991).
The elderly often neglect themselves, perhaps due to the inability to care for themselves independently, because of loneliness or depression, or other factors. According to the Administration on Aging, an elderly person may engage in self-neglect in a number of ways, primarily through carelessness in clothing and personal hygiene.
How many of you would go out of the house before brushing your hair or making sure your makeup was adequate? Family caregivers must remember that just because an older adult may not be going anywhere special doesn’t mean that she can’t benefit emotionally and mentally from regular trips to the beauty parlor for a cut and perm. The next time you visit the assisted living facility or long-term care center where your mom stays, look at the difference in expression and demeanor of individuals emerging from the beautician or salon services often provided at such locations. You’ll likely see more smiles, brighter eyes, and perhaps even a wink or two.
Quality of life every day
Enhancing the self-esteem of seniors goes a long way to reducing the risk of depression or even deteriorating health. Taking care of outward appearances also enhances the mental and emotional feelings of many elders, and should not be taken lightly. Combat ageism in the home and in health care circles, and insist on such services for elders in all circumstances, whether you’re a professional caregiver or a concerned family member.
Care given to personal hygiene, grooming, and clothing often helps boost moods and outlooks for all of us, and the elderly are no different. When caring for elderly individuals, make sure to take their whole being into consideration. Don’t get so focused on medications, meals and doctors’ appointments that you forget the emotional and mental parts of eldercare.