Everywhere you look, people are living well into their eighties, nineties, and hundreds. These are the new elderly with a longer life expectancy, especially for women, increased mobility, and greater opportunities to enjoy their golden years. They are in addition to the generation of fifty- to seventy-individuals who retire and begin to adjust their lifestyles due to the constraints of aging and decreased health and agility. Every elderly person benefits from some extra understanding on the part of people who assist with their daily care and decision-making. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity even when they cannot remain independent or sound of mind and body.

Facing the Cultural Climate
The key to treating individuals in their golden years with respect is operating from a perspective of cultural sensitivity and empathy. Regardless of background, elderly people often belong to an extended family system. Staff members should realize that they may be totally or partially dependent upon family members or friends for financial resources and without the power to make all decisions. They may not be able to adequately express their needs. They may be frustrated with unwanted interference from meddling relatives and friends. Not everyone will have their best interests at heart.

Intergenerational Care
When working with the elderly, it is important to appreciate the intergenerational nature of many family systems and the situations of people who do not have anyone helping them. On occasion, the primary caregiver may need some time to attend to their own needs. During this situation, services like those offered at Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care help mitigate the workload placed on the caregiver. The elderly share a desire to remain independent for as long as possible and to have a say over their life choices. If they are in pain, are disabled, or have problems such as depression due to their present situation, they can be difficult to handle. They may not respond in the same manner as they would have in their younger years. Elderly people may require careful explanations of their options for every major life decision and time to consider what is best for their situation.

Getting Cooperation through Consideration
People assisting seniors may get more cooperation by using respectful mannerisms and speech patterns in all interactions. This includes speaking in ways that make you more easily understood, talking slower and repeating or clarifying as needed, and allowing time for a person to respond. People with physical concerns may also require extra time and helping hands to execute tasks. By appreciating the fact that an elderly person may have limitations that make life challenging, you can help them keep their dignity.

Author's Bio: 

Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber