I am sending LOVE to my family, but its not from me, its from my client 😊
This morning she said to me …. “Please send my love to your family because you are the most important person in my life and I need you here”
Now, I’ll be honest with you, I have mixed emotions when my client says things like that, because although it reflects the trust and bond between client and carer. The very thing that’s pivotal to improving the lived experience of an elderly person during the most vulnerable stage of life. It also poses to be my biggest challenge because it also raises concerns of dependency and reliance, which is an ongoing challenge when caring for those who do depend on others.
How do we overcome experiences of learned helplessness ?
“Learned helplessness … When people feel that they have no control over their situation, they may also begin to behave in a helpless manner. This inaction can lead people to overlook opportunities for relief or change”.
I strongly believe that its essential to focus on those higher order needs
Because when our focus is primarily on responding to the lower needs (which is generally done in Nursing Homes), then we are failing to fully support our clients sense of personal empowerment.
Reigniting feelings of worth and value into the hearts of the elderly isn’t an easy process, because its not just a personal thing, its cultural and its collective. We are striving to change how we think, feel and experience frailty. But I’m learning that it makes all the difference to improving the lived experience during the final stage of life. Therefore, its absolutely essential to be on the look out for limiting beliefs expressed in emotion or behaviour.
Whenever I re-frame a thought connected to a limited belief, that makes my client feel less than or lacking in some way, I see her eyes light up from the realization of her own worth. When I reflect back her own beauty, courage, strength, wisdom, achievements and love, I see her eyes light up from the realization of her own value. These are the experiences I live for because it makes EVERYTHING worth while.
Unfortunately, in our culture we’ve been led to believe that growing old is all about loss and a lack of value, which is total and utter BULL SHIT !!!
So, how do we CHANGE this limiting belief ?
One step at a time 😊
For example, someone with memory loss often experiences feelings of frustration, which can increase feelings of anxiety because of their confusion. When I first said to both my client and caring collegue that confusion was a good thing, they both looked at me like I was crazy. Then I explained how confusion gives us an opportunity to check in and clarify what she needs in that moment. It reminds us as carers, not to assume that what our client wanted yesterday, is the same thing that’s needed today.
This is just one example of an opportunity to re-frame how we think, feel and experience the aging process.
Ive been fortunate to have been blessed with the ability to see the beauty in the elderly. Even as a young girl I felt an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation for their presence in our world, no matter how frail or tortured with dementia they were.
The challenges and the learning continues but the light burns brighter
Mindful interaction ❤