Home care service for seniors looks to teach empathy through simulation

Home Instead simulates old age so caregivers get an idea of what it’s like

Have you ever wondered how difficult things can be once you start losing your senses?

Well, you can experience that for yourself, at least for a short while. Home Instead is a home care service for seniors, and they teach their caregivers the appropriate times to help and how to connect better with the residents they care for.

And they do that through age sensitivity training. It includes putting on gloves with cotton padding at the tips to simulate loss of sensation, and stir sticks to simulate loss of dexterity because of arthritis.

The training also includes glasses that simulate cataracts and vision loss and earplugs for hearing loss.

Home Instead Kelowna owner Janine Karlsen said the training prepares caregivers to empathize and give compassionate care.

“It creates a level of awareness for them to anticipate where they may need to help or being patient,” she said.

“Sometimes, we’re so used to a fast-paced life. We don’t always understand that for some people, it just takes them a little longer to do something.”

Home Instead offers services in Kelowna, Penticton and Lake Country. Karlsen said they do offer services and training outside of those areas, as long as they reach out and let the office know they’re interested.

Karlsen said they also have another simulation available on their website. She said the goal is to show everyone what it’s like for older folks.

“Sensory loss affects the way (older people) live their lives… but the point is, it’s not just for Home Instead caregivers, it’s for everyone. What can we all do to support older folks to have a really full and rewarding life.”

For more information on the training and simulation, visit the Home Instead website.

READ: Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

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