It is clear that many nursing homes have a staff of professionals who actually follow the famous Person-Centred Care model, but in many of them, due to a lack of resources, this is not the case.

That is why it is worth emphasizing the importance of the Psychogerontologist in these new enterprises, because they really fulfill a need: that of taking care of the elderly who cannot assume the price of a residence . In this article we will see why the role of the Psychogerontologist is important in home care startups, a type of service with great potential.

The Person-Centered Care Model

Normally, companies that provide care for the elderly have a staff of professional carers , that is, nursing assistants who provide high quality services to the elderly. In addition, given the high demand for persons requiring care, this generates a high employment opportunity for social health care personnel.

On the other hand, and he Person-Centred Care model on which these initiatives are based is fundamentally an approach that is highly advocated by Spanish and French gerontologists, and is also international. According to gerontologist Teresa Martínez, it is a philosophy of care that considers people to have dignity and rights, which is also understood as indirect autonomy.

It is for this reason that although the involvement of nursing assistants in these companies is so important, so is that of the psycho-gerontologists, since person-centred care must become effective, helping the assistants to understand well the continuous changes that happen to older people due to their neuro-degenerative diseases, the related neuro-psychiatric symptomatology and the defence mechanisms that we develop as people age.

What is the role of the Psychogerontologist in a Startup?

To begin with, Psychogerontology helps Nursing Assistants, but in order to know how we must first answer another question: What does a Psychogerontologist do?

Gerontology is the science that studies aging , and just as there are Geriatric Doctors, there are Gerontological Psychologists who study aging and promote active aging and help people to persevere and maintain their autonomy as long as possible, helping them in the progress of their vital line.

In fact, rights are not dependent on age. We are all worthy of social and health care and even more so when we are older. We also have Geriatric and Gerontological Nursing and also Nursing Assistants; in the end it is the Assistants who are in direct contact with the elderly, taking on all the problems of working with the elderly, often receiving little support from other professionals due to lack of economic resources.

In the same way that the Assistants give support to the Nurses, a Gerontological Psychologist gives support to the Assistants . For this reason, it is very important to work together, since there is still a long way to go in the care of the elderly; because we have specialized care in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, but what about the third and fourth ages?

In fact, Gonzalo Berzosa, an expert psychologist and gerontologist, who is 70 years old, says that we have everything for early care, everything about cognitive stimulation and even inclusive school, that pediatrics knows everything about children and that we have everything until we are 20, 25 and 30 years old, but after 30 years old we have nothing. It is for this reason that psychologists have a great responsibility.

What are the competences of the Psychogerontologist?

Basically, the tasks that Psychogerontologists take care of are the following.

  • To propose treatments for neurodegenerative diseases in the context of clinical intervention.
  • To know, select and apply psychological evaluation instruments in aging.
  • Interpreting the results of an evaluation and making diagnoses.
  • Design intervention programmes taking into account which are the goals, tools and methodologies appropriate in each case.
  • To advise and intervene in the family environment of the elderly , both healthy and sick.
  • Working with Nursing Aids.
  • To continually research new methods of Intervention and new advances, as well as Geronto – Technology.
  • To promote lines of research in the field of psychogerontology.

The added value in the relationship with patients

There are several advantages that can be enjoyed by Home Care Startups that have Psychologists on their team:

1. Diagnosis

The team of Nursing Assistants with more than one patient in charge often develop stress , and it is very important that they know at all times the diagnosis of the older person they are caring for.

2. Monitoring

For the above reason it is very important to follow up on the older person, as well as his or her neurodegenerative changes (in the case of a neurodegenerative disease) and physical changes.

3. Person-Centered Care

It is of vital importance to work together with the nursing assistants to provide as personalised care as possible to promote the autonomy of the elderly, but also to avoid the famous Burnout Effect on the nursing assistants.

4. Update

A psychogerontologist is also a continuous researcher, since in general only those who are truly passionate about the profession are able to practice it. It is evident that in order to be successful, it is essential to be aware of new developments to keep up with the market.

It is of vital importance to know the psychopharmacological advances in order to be able to carry out an adequate pharmacological but also non-pharmacological follow-up of the elderly and thus honestly offer Person-Centred Care to promote the autonomy and dignity of people in the best possible way.

A complete care for the fourth and third age

In conclusion, the Psychogerontologists are professionals specialised in neurodegenerative diseases and their behavioural expression, who take up the disciplines studying ageing : Gerontology and Grausology.

They are truly important, therefore, in the Home Care Service (HCS) of the new companies that are intermediaries between Nursing Assistants and the Elderly.