THERE is a tendency for some people to think of all people over a certain age as being very similar in the way they act and think.

You get a sense of that in the over-used phrase ‘the elderly’, which seems to suggest everyone over, say, 70, can be considered together as some sort of homogenous group, sharing the same interests and experiences.

In truth, of course, that’s simply not the case.

Every single person has had different life experiences, which have shaped them and the way they see the world and interact with others.

They might well have worked in a variety of backgrounds and perhaps managed scores of staff in the past, before retirement. They will have been involved with various leisure groups and organisations over the years and achieved success in a variety of fields.

‘Person-centred care’ is a much-used phrase in health and social care circles and it is an approach we at Westmorland Homecare always endeavour to take.

Person-centred care is about ensuring that individual’s preferences, needs and values guide how we interact with them and that we provide care that is respectful of, and responsive to, them.

Many of our clients and elderly. We provide a range of services, which enable people to live independently in their own home.

We encourage all of our staff to get to know the clients they visit. They aim to find out about their interests, what makes them happy or frustrated and how they like to be addressed. They are sensitive to a person’s mood and will adjust the way they speak with them accordingly.

Most times a client will appreciate a bright and breezy ’Hello there’ and lots of positive chattiness during the home care visit.

But sometimes it might be more appropriate for staff to adopt a more reserved and quieter demeanour and simply get on with the job in hand, be it helping with housekeeping and meal preparation, or personal care, such as help with dressing and bathing.

It’s all about getting to know the person and actively listening to their verbal and non-verbal communications.

Most of all it is about treating every client with respect and as a real individual.