The senior population of any country is most susceptible to illnesses and health diseases. As the body ages, its immunity against various ailments plummets rapidly.
Working in Old-Age Homes
In addition to all the associated physical restrictions of old age, senior citizens also face several mental health issues.
Due to the required intensive care for older adults, healthcare systems aren’t always ready for the unique needs of the rapidly aging population.
Those who belong to the elderly often suffer from chronic conditions and severe mood swings. They require specialized care management.
With the increasing number of aged citizens, nursing homes have become a viable source of quality old-age healthcare.
Nursing homes for older people ensure the highest standards of care required for effective treatment. They can meet the peculiar healthcare needs of such senior citizens.
Besides providing essential medical assistance, nursing homes also help older people engage in stimulating activities to alleviate stress and depression.
In all nursing homes, gerontological nurses play an essential role. With the increasing demand for critical care in nursing homes, the role of gerontological nurses has become more vital than ever.
An adult gerontology nurse practitioner, also known as a geriatric nurse, specializes in providing healthcare to senior citizens.
Geriatric specialists and health advocates require the help of senior nurses to ensure quality care for the elderly in old nursing homes.
While the importance of geriatric nursing is surely on the rise, the role of a senior nurse is quite demanding.
The senior population presents ever-more-complex healthcare needs, and meeting them can sometimes be quite a taxing task.
Geriatric nurses face many challenges while working in old nurse homes. They have to provide well-rounded care. Along with that, they also consider the cultural, physiological, and psychological aspects of aging.
Below is a list of various challenges gerontological nurses face while caring for the elderly. Every problem is provided with a solution to facilitate a nurse’s understanding.
Dealing with Mental Health Issues
Mental health presents one of the most challenging issues of old age. The main problem is the lack of understanding.
Many professionals understand the obvious physical implications of the aging process but fail to understand its impact on the elderly.
The body’s strength diminishes while the susceptibility to ailments increases.
Diseases like Parkinson’s and arthritis are quite common. While the body-related limitations are obvious, the mind also suffers from various conditions.
One of the most common mental health issues senior citizens face is depression. Losing one’s spryness and performing once-easy physical tasks can invoke uselessness.
According to a study, nearly 44% of older people in Canada are diagnosed with depression. Other than depression, senior people may also have dementia and enhanced levels of anxiety.
Nurses can help patients with depression and other mental health issues. Such people benefit greatly from therapeutic activities like painting, walking, and knitting.
Nurses can also institute a healthy diet and routine for older people to improve their mental health.
Promoting Social Inclusion
One of the most natural consequences of depression and mental health issues is social isolation. Dementia, stress, and anxiety can inhibit an elderly’s ability to interact with people.
Mental health issues are often coupled with lesser mobility and even more limited interaction opportunities.
Older people find the aspect of meeting others a demanding task. The increasing rate of illnesses can also affect one’s social mood to interacting with people.
For the nurses working in nursing homes, helping the elderly overcome social isolation is a significant challenge.
Nurses can help them feel connected to the outside world in meaningful ways. Often the strategies employed in such situations blend social activities and exercises.
Nurses should also promote a healthy culture for older people that promotes social inclusion and positive relationship building.
Providing Compassionate Care
It can become quite challenging to work for a nursing home with people who have mood swings. Especially due to depression and physical ailments, the behavior of adults can become demanding.
Keeping a positive demeanor can be difficult. It is quite easy for nurses to become overwhelmed in such a situation. In some cases, the elders can develop attention-seeking and manipulative behavior.
It helps to know that geriatric nursing is demanding in such circumstances, and such situations are quite common. The first step in dealing with such a state is to develop empathy.
It helps tremendously to place oneself in the shoes of senior citizens. The pain of slowly losing one’s strength and friends with time can take a massive toll on the elderly.
When nurses understand their patients better, they can provide compassionate care. It also helps establish a proper understanding which is the key component of effective care management.
Nurses should provide unconditional care and treat older people as adults. Sometimes, the simple act of listening can do wonders.
Furthermore, ensuring full-time availability for senior citizens can help them become less demanding. It establishes the fact that they aren’t alone or neglected.
Coping With Death
One of the hardest aspects of geriatric nursing is coping with the loss of a patient. It is quite natural to grow attached to a patient to whom the nurse provided care.
It is never easy to lose a person, let alone someone to whom the nurse has become close. It can take a massive emotional toll on the caregiver, resulting in losing interest in regular duties.
Professionals in this field often need to take breaks or indulge in efficient self-care activities. It is important to note that nurses are human too, and they need to recharge.
Losing someone with whom one has bonded can be immensely painful. If necessary, a nurse should seek out a grief counselor.
Meanwhile, it is best if the nurse doesn’t let the grief interfere with their regular duties.
The aspect of getting old comes along with many physical and mental restrictions. The elderly have peculiar healthcare needs, and nursing homes are established to meet their special requirements.
Geriatric nurses play an essential role as caretakers in the old nursing homes. Despite its importance, geriatric nursing is also a very demanding job.
Nurses working in the field often have to deal with many problems, including mental health issues of senior citizens. They have to provide unconditional care despite the demanding behavior of the elderly.