The transition into aged care can often seem daunting for both the senior and their loved ones. As people get older, their health needs tend to increase, and at some point this may result in a change of lifestyle. However, holistic care approaches health by treating more than just the physical needs of a person, supporting their emotional, social and spiritual needs as well. This helps to improve the overall wellbeing and quality of life for the senior.
What is Holistic Care?
Holistic care is an approach that places importance on the needs of the person beyond just the physical. This includes their emotional, social, spiritual, cognitive and personal needs. Holistic care aims to address the root cause of a problem, as well as the symptoms, to improve the overall wellbeing and quality of life of the person.
Holistic care recognises that a person’s needs are all interconnected and that an improvement in one area will have a flow on effect. Holistic care combines a variety of approaches and treatment options to address health care. Some examples of holistic care treatment methods include:
- Massage therapy
- Music therapy
- Colour therapy
Why is Holistic Care Important?
Many seniors often begin to find that symptoms like pain and soreness have become a regular part of life. They may wish to avoid taking many medications at once, or they may wish to find treatments that seek to improve their overall wellbeing, including their mental health.
Holistic care can also provide seniors with dignity and a sense of autonomy and control over their own health care. It’s important for seniors to feel hopeful, valued and respected, especially if they are dealing with chronic pain.
Holistic care treatment methods are often used alongside traditional pain remedies to improve overall quality of life. Seniors should be treated with respect and compassion by their caregivers, so that they still feel valued and appreciated as a whole person.
What are the Benefits of the Holistic Care Approach?
Holistic health care allows elderly adults to maintain their sense of independence and self discipline, enabling them to continue living a meaningful life. Some of the benefits of holistic care include:
- Opportunities for social growth
- Meaningful support from caregivers
- Cognitive maintenance and development
- Independence and autonomy
- Spiritual and/or cultural comfort
- A more positive outlook on life
What is Holistic Care in Aged Care?
Holistic care in aged care involves creating a specific care plan for each person that is tailored to their lifestyle and support needs. Their support needs would include physical and medical support, as well as cognitive, emotional, social and personal support.
In an aged care setting, a holistic approach to healthcare would include providing the resident with opportunities to help them feel comfortable, fulfilled and respected. This might include alternative treatments like massage therapy and acupuncture or activities to improve their mental wellbeing, like pet therapy or counselling.
What Does Holistic Care Involve?
Holistic care might incorporate a number of different things to ensure that a person’s needs are being met. This can include anything from aromatherapy to art and crafts sessions, depending on what the person requires. Holistic care also incorporates dynamic care planning, meaning that each person’s treatment plan should change to accommodate their needs and preferences, if and when they change.
Examples of Holistic Care in Aged Care
A holistic care approach incorporates a range of different methods to suit the needs of the resident and complement their medical treatment. A resident’s holistic treatment plan is flexible and can change as their requirements and preferences change. Some of the activities that might be included in a holistic care plan are listed below.
Aromatherapy is the use of natural aromatic oils to improve well-being. The essential oils are either absorbed into the skin or used for their fragrant properties. This practice can help to relieve pain, improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety and improve digestion and appetite.
Massage therapy can help to lessen pain, relieve stress and reduce symptoms of agitation and anxiety. Massages can also help to improve circulation, boost energy and lower a fast heart rate.
Acupuncture involves pressing needles into specific points on the skin to stimulate a response. This response helps to activate the immune system, promote circulation and improve wound healing. There is evidence to suggest that acupuncture can help relieve chronic pain and improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Pet therapy simply means bringing animals – usually dogs – to spend time with people. Animals can be comforting because they help people feel calmer, more playful and less stressed.
Music therapy includes listening to, creating, or moving to music. These activities help to relax muscles, calm the mind and reduce stress by encouraging focus on the music. Other data suggests that rhythmic sounds and vibrations also provide sensory stimulation and can improve cognitive function. Music therapy also has the potential to be a social activity.
Counselling is beneficial for people of any age, but it can help older adults adjust to some of the difficulties that come with age. This might include adjusting to lifestyle changes, managing grief and loss, accepting a health diagnosis or combating loneliness.
Meditation involves training the mind to focus and clear or redirect your thoughts. This activity can help to reduce stress, manage anxiety and increase positive emotions. In seniors, meditation can also improve memory loss.
Yoga is a great way for seniors to stay active without risking strain or injury. Not only does yoga improve balance and flexibility, it can also result in better sleep habits, improved mood and stronger bones.
Our Approach to Holistic Care at Kew Gardens Aged Care
Kew Gardens Aged Care incorporates a person centred, holistic approach to resident care by providing a wide range of resources, facilities and activities. These include massage and beauty therapy, physiotherapy, music therapy and pet therapy.
Contact Kew Gardens Aged Care to learn more about the health and lifestyle services on offer for residents and residents.