Like many developed nations in the West, Hong Kong too has a significant aged and elderly population in complete contrast to the huge number of youth professionals populating this industrialist city state from all around the world. Now elderly population in any house requires extra care for their livelihood and health. Obviously, domestic helpers employed by families for an array of day to day tasks and responsibilities play a significant role into this. What are the key skills that domestic helpers in Hong Kong must have for taking care of elderly in the family? Let us mention here a few of them.
1. They must be good listener
The best way to make things easy for elders is to maintain a polite attitude and giving them more attention. Most elderly people already feel dejected and forlorn to a great extent, and they always feel impoverished of people’s attention. Naturally, they can just start shouting or expressing anger on petty issues every here and then. This is why it is always advisable to give them a proper hearing whenever they venture to express their opinion or talk about anything. If domestic helpers who are likely to take care of the elderly people for the most part of the day become polite, accommodating and attentive to them, they can make elderly people feel more comfortable and at ease.
2. They must have skills for arthritic care
Elderly people are most likely to suffer from arthritic conditions ranging from muscle pain, weak bones, frequent joint pain, inability to lift the body, sore and painful waist and back, inability to walk, etc. While all these conditions are clinical and require expert physicians attention and care, at homes often the ones staying nearby are readily depended upon for help. It is needless to say, domestic helpers being around the elderly people, are more depended in crucial situations when other members are not nearby. This is why often families with elderly people at home depend on a domestic helper for providing quick arthritic care.
3. They must have basic skills for administering drugs and treatment
Elderly people often need to someone to give them medicines at designated times maintaining the right order and intervals since they are often not sound enough to remember the entire course of medicine prescribed by the doctor. In such cases, either the family members or the domestic helpers help them to take medicine timely and at regular intervals. Most households where the capable members remain absent for the most part of the day domestic helpers take the responsibility to make aged people take medicine lest they do not skip it. So, a certain level of familiarity with medicines, prescriptions and typical ways to administer them, is expected from the domestic helper. He or she must be able to read the medicine levels and the physicians prescription.
4. They must have physiotherapy, messaging and emergency care for heart attack
A vast majority of elderly people simply suffer from their inability to walk or take strong and firm strides. This is why, to help them have some fresh air while making a round in the morning or evening, domestic helpers accompany them. So, it is extremely important for the domestic helper to know about accompanying elderly people suffering from incapability to move feet normally. At times elderly people also feel relieved with a light massage on certain body areas, and if your domestic helper has a prior experience and skill on this, it can be considered as an additional skill.
Apart from all the above mentioned skills, if the domestic helper is equipped with skills for an emergency care to deal with a heart attack, it can prove to be a life-saving skill. Knowing how to exert pressure on the diseased chest to normalise heart functioning is a kind of critical physical skill an elderly person can ultimately experience as life-saving for him.
5. Conversational skills
When growing old people are likely to become more sentimental, sometimes stubborn, sometimes hectic and at times very indignant. Seniors also show some behavioural elements common with kids. They respond more to storytelling than so called logical explanations. At such times, explaining things with a mind bent on storytelling can prove to be more effective. How one infuse humour, fun, little stories and poetic understanding of life and surroundings within a conversation is important to appease elderly people and ensure their happiness. If you are looking for maidservants or domestic helpers for your elderly parents or grannies, just make sure the person has a pleasant personality and engaging conversational ability.
6. Make sure you can calculate and keep things arranged
This is quite funny that elderly people often look more calculative and parsimonious than their younger counterparts in the family. But while they always tend to spend hell lot of energy in speculating about the market and their savings, when it comes to calculations they mostly depend upon their near and dear ones. In the absence of other members of the family, they tell the domestic helper to lend her hand for counting money in a locker. Besides counting, domestic help also needs to keep all the things arranged so that anything can be accessed from the room whenever needed. It is always good to find a helper who is tidy in her own life so that he doesn’t need to learn it.
7. Can you fix the old tape recorder?
This is certainly not a skill you can demand from any domestic helper, but if one is capable of fixing certain gadgets and devices at home, it can be an additional skill of importance, no doubt. How many times your grandpa complained about the old tape recorder sounding hoarse? Well, there can be nothing better if your domestic helper can fix it at home. But obviously, that’s something you cannot expect from everyone coming on your way.
Those domestic helpers are ideal for taking care of elderly people at home who have elderly people at home and who already have had the experience by dealing with their old folks at home.
Edouard Muller is a French entrepreneur working in the Hive Sai Kung. He is the founder of HelperPlace – a leading platform to find the right domestic helper in Hong Kong.