Care for Older Adults for Caregivers

Apr 27, 2015
Tagged with: Care for Older Adults for Caregivers


As adults get older, they deal with various health and mental issues. As a caregiver or nurse, it is important to give older patients specialized, individualized care. Caring for an older adult becomes increasingly difficult without guidelines and practices to follow. 

According to the American Journal of Nursing, nurses care for more patients over the age of 65 than any other patient group. With such a large number of patients, nurses and caregivers need to follow specific guidelines to give these patients the best care possible. Here are a few of the best practices to care for older adults.



As a nurse, one of the first steps when taking care of older adults is to assess the patients. Assessment plays an important role in caregiving because older adults have different health issues than younger adults and because every patient requires different levels of care. By assessing the needs of each adult, the caregiver prevents misdiagnoses, examines and interprets various symptoms, and drafts a customized pain management plan.

Issues like dementia, delirium, and depression, in particular, require accurate assessment so that the caregiver can provide proper care. For example, dementia is common in many older adults. To properly assess possible dementia, the nurse or caregiver can look for early symptoms and apply his or her knowledge about pain management options and accident prevention. Depression is also common in older adults. Nurses can follow guidelines to assess the type of depression and how the patient’s family can help manage it.



In the rapidly growing digital age, many online tools and resources exist for caregivers. The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing has a valuable collection of resources, including assessment tools with information about caring for older adults, tools for specialty nurses, and strategies focused on older adults with dementia. The institute also provides more information about common geriatric conditions, nursing associations, and evidence-based content. Caregivers can use these resources when assessing each patient.



When treating or assessing an older adult, communication plays an important role. As a nurse or caregiver, you must get to know the patient and relate to him or her on a personal level. This fosters a positive relationship that results in better, more specialized care. Also, nurses can create relationships with the family of the older adult. By communicating with the family and others surrounding the patient, the nurse can learn about the family’s medical history, come up with a specific care plan, and offer caregiving tips.


Training and Education

The Nursing Best Practice Guideline recommends that entry-level nursing programs teach students about caring for older adults. By enrolling in a healthcare MBA program, students can learn about the aging process and about the different diseases that come with old age. Students also learn how to assess dementia, delirium, and depression and how to communicate with patients and their families.

As the population continues to age, geriatric care becomes more essential. With the right tools and education, caregivers can recognize health issues and combat them early on, helping older adults live longer, fuller lives. By following specific practices and guidelines, nurses and caregivers can give older adults the high-quality, focused care that they deserve.





Jane Miller has an MBA in Healthcare from the GWU healthcare mba programs. She has a passion in adult care.  On her spare time you can see her volunteering in adult care institutions and blogging.  Jane believes that by sharing her experience and thoughts of her volunteering, she can maybe inspire others to do good things as well.


Author: Todd Kosher

  • bobl07

    This information is so important. We have so many baby boomers that are either caregivers or being recipients. Thanks for sharing.