A majority of the patients are in their 70s, 80s, & 90s (sometimes they are 100 or older!!) Working with the elderly can have its pros and cons. For the most part, a lot of them are easy to work with and seem to appreciate us. However, there are those that are either very grumpy and have no filter. Or they can be challenging to work with due to hearing problems or physical impediments.
HOH – Hard of Hearing
I never have thought of myself as someone who speaks quietly. I would say that I speak at an average volume. However, the elderly seem to think that I whisper when I am talking to them. These are the ones where we label them as ‘HOH’ or ‘Hard of Hearing.’ When talking to patients who are HOH, you will feel like you are shouting, but believe me, this is a normal volume for the elderly.
What the elderly hear when you talk at a normal volume:
How you think you sound when you talk louder to the elderly:
Wheelchairs – Harder to use than you would think!
When I first started my job as an ophthalmic technician, I did not realize that wheelchairs were a little bit difficult to use! First off, I did not even know that they had breaks on them!! The breaks are SUPER important when ‘parking’ a patient in the waiting room (so they won’t roll away).
At first, rolling the patients around the office was a bit challenging. There are lots of corners and tight hallways which can be hard to maneuver through. However, after lots of practice, I feel like the Vin Diesel of wheelchairs now.
The hardest thing about patients being in wheelchairs is transferring them to the machine. A majority of the time, the patients who are in wheelchairs, are too short to reach the machine. As a result, we need to move them to the chair that we already have. However, transferring them can be a challenge! You NEED to have the breaks on the wheelchair so they do not loose their balance as they are getting up. Then, you NEED to make sure you are holding down the chair they are about to go into. This is also to prevent the chair from sliding away. The process of helping them up and down into the chairs can be timely and hard on the patient.