Communication is one of the most complex things we do as humans. Of course, communication is about talking – trying to find the right words to express your ideas and interpreting the words of others. But communication also involves picking up on social and other cues – not to mention picking up on what’s not being said. We take all these tiny bits of information flying at us every millisecond to put together what we believe to be a coherent picture.
With such complex interactions, we’re bound to get it wrong from time to time. In most of our daily interactions, “getting it wrong” leads to minor miscommunications that are usually easily solved. (Hey, without misunderstandings, we wouldn’t have had Three’s Company...) But when a parent or loved one relies upon us for so much, “getting it right” suddenly becomes a whole lot more important.
Here are three ways you can improve your caregiver communications skills starting right...
The irony for most caregivers is that we don’t give enough care to ourselves. Our focus is ensuring we’re meeting the needs of our parent or loved one. In fact the very thought of doing something for ourselves feels somehow... selfish.
Here’s the fact though: not taking care of yourself is more selfish!
Being a caregiver requires a lot of our time and energy. Most of us also have other priorities – our own families, work, and other obligations. We are stretched so thinly that any little tear threatens to drop the whole load like an over-stretched trampoline.
When it gets to that point, we are literally not as effective as we could be – or should be – for our parent or loved one we are taking care of.
That’s why taking care of ourselves is so important. It’s better for our mental health. It’s better for those around us. And, it ultimately makes us a better caregiver. One note: although we talk about family caregivers here, all the...
A friend of mine told me that the moment she realized her father needed in-home care was the moment he set his housecoat on fire.
She laughed as she described it – the whole thing sounds like a sitcom episode with Fred Willard hilariously flaying about trying to douse the flames. Nobody was laughing at the time though – it was a big wake-up call for everyone.
The thing is, her father wasn’t doing anything unusual. He was cooking his breakfast as he did every morning. Somehow, part of the terrycloth touched the burner and the cotton just flared up.
Luckily, he put the flames out quickly and was okay. But I still wince to think how much worse it could have been. It left my friend a bit scared and confused as well. Suddenly she was faced with something we all dread: that moment when you realize the roles have reversed, and you are the one looking after your parents.
Reaching this level of understanding is difficult and often heart-wrenching. Too often, it takes a...
It’s commonly understood that animals have a positive effect on our health — particularly our mental health. Their companionship, affection, and unconditional love can make even the worst day a little brighter. For many seniors, animals can offer much more. Service animals and Emotional Support Animals for seniors are becoming ever more common.
How do you know which is right for you or your ageing parents? What’s the difference between a pet and a service animal? What is an Emotional Support Animal? We’ll endeavour to clarify the differences and narrow down which would be the best for your situation.
When it comes to animal companions, the most obvious choices are pets. Particularly if someone has always had a furry (or feathered/scaled/etc.) friend, pets can bring a sense of unconditional love and comfort to seniors. The options for pets are nearly endless and can accommodate a wide range of living situations, allergies, and levels of commitment. For...
The crux of the dying phase of life is that death is foreign to all of us, and it scares us to death...pun intended!
This person is someone who is trained to enter your world at this critical time to help you navigate the process of death.
Just as a birthing Doula helps with the hellos to the world, an End of Life Practitioner helps prepare you and your loved ones with the goodbye that you want to send to the world. In-between saying hello and saying goodbye to the world is the curve of life which we generally navigate reasonably well.
The entry and the exit are the struggles.
An End of Life Practitioner will assist you in providing the platform for Your Voice, Your Choice.
An End of Life Practitioner works with the dying person and their loved ones to ensure that the process of death is with dignity and respect.
Most importantly, the expressed wishes of the dying person are met and understood by all those that surround and assist during this...