We’ve all seen toddlers insisting on doing things themselves, despite the fact that it takes them forever and that very often we have to redo everything they’ve done once they’ve finished. It can be frustrating to watch, but it is, of course, a crucial stage in child development.

As a CNA, you may very well be experiencing something similar with the patients you care for. It is often easier for you to dress them, comb their hair or sit them up, but that doesn’t mean they want you to. Loss of independence is one of the greatest challenges of old age. In fact, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph, more people are afraid of losing their independence than are afraid of death.

A Little Independence Goes a Long Way

Residents of nursing facilities are there for a reason; they obviously can’t be completely independent. But even a little independence goes a long way for both physical and emotional health. Wherever possible, letting residents do things for themselves is a good choice.

Risk Factors

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind risk factors as well. Your patient may want to make her own tea, but if her hands are shaking, she is risking spilling the water and burning herself. That’s a good place to draw the line.

Limited Time

Unfortunately, your time is limited. You have to reach all your patients on your rounds and you don’t have time to wait for each resident to slowly dress themselves. But if patients are determined to do things independently, you can leave them to their own devices and just come back and check on them toward the end of rounds and help out if needed. It’s a little extra effort on your part, but it gives your patient a feeling of satisfaction and normalcy.