Caring for the whole person
When I started out on my journey in care I suppose I was a bit naïve, we are conditioned to think that only the physical needs are important, you know… as long as we are clean, have food and appropriate shelter we are well cared for, but I soon realised that our emotional needs are just, if not more important and that both physical and emotional needs go hand in hand. It is just not enough to have just one side looked after for us to feel totally fulfilled. In fact not having our emotional side cared for can make us physically unwell. It soon became apparent to me that the biggest issue that older people face is not their physical issues but… wait for it… Loneliness!! I feel I need to back this up with some theory… Abraham Maslow developed a theory of human needs in 1943, his basic concept was that humans could not fully move into the next level up in fulfilment of needs until the previous had been met, he put this into a simple table:
It is clear to see that after our physical and safety needs have been looked after we need to our emotional needs to be met. In the context of care, it is also clear that people are definitely getting their physical aspects looked after but what about the emotional? Spending time asking an older person how they are makes them feel valued, showing patience and kindness says to them that they are worth that time with and listening to them and how they feel gives them a sense that someone cares in a lonely world. We were never made to be in this world alone, we need relationships in our lives to make us feel complete.
Social care has a duty to meet both sides of care, spending quality time and supporting tasks is the perfect balance if we want our older generation to be as happy as they can be! It’s not complicated… in fact it’s really simple!