Has it crossed your mind that you are thinking caring for your small child when caring for your old dad or mom? True, there may be similarities in caring for the old and the small ones but it is a lot more different than you may think.
First, you have to consider the biological clock of the human body. The human body systems during infancy are all immature. You are nurturing your child towards maturity and independent functioning. On the other hand, the elderly have biological systems that are slowly degenerating. The body is akin to a machine – the systems do malfunction when due to wear and tear. The major difference between elderly care and child care depends on a number of factors. Here are those factors that affect the level of care required between the child and the elderly:
Activity. The child is bursting with energy and vigor. Because his environment is strange to him, he will try to discover everything on his own, thus constant supervision is required. The elderly on the other hand may want to just lie on the bed. This is not healthy as it will contribute to the development of pressure sores. As such, whether you subscribed to home care or simply caring for your elders at home, you need to encourage movement or provide passive range of motion exercises.
Nutrition. The amount of food you give to a child is normally to nourish and give him enough energy for the day. With the elderly, the amount of food you give will depend on how much he or she can take as well as consider the limitations in the diet as prescribed by the doctor. The elderly may insist on eating food that may increase the risk of complication relating to his health condition, and you or a care personnel will be responsible for preventing that to happen. It will either involve repeated explanation to the elderly or keeping the food out of sight.
Maintenance of Hygiene. The child will normally soil himself same with adults or elderly. Children are usually ushered or carried to the bathroom to clean them. The elderly, on the other hand may require assistance, carried or turned on the bed to accomplish this. A child may warn you that he or she may need to use the bathroom, while the elderly may not be able to feel that he already soiled himself. Maintenance of hygiene and caring needs depend on the overall health condition of the elderly.
Communication. You may find it stimulating to talk to a little boy who just learned to speak. You may find it difficult to converse with the elderly as they may not talk a lot or ask you things that you do not understand, like in the case of a dementia patient.
With these factors in mind, it is vital that the care provider understands the nature of the health condition of the elderly as well as equipped with an adequate amount of knowledge and training. While it is true that there is no universal guide for caring for the child, caring for the elderly with different illness and health conditions have guidelines.