Providing quality senior care is important. Quality of care is important to the families that hire are doing the hiring, but it’s most important to the senior that is being cared for. I have seen incidents where caregivers are not as compassionate as they could be because the senior may have dementia and they don’t think that they will remember rude comments or bad attitudes. But you have to ask yourself, if this was your mother/father, grandmother/grandfather, sibling, or someone that you love…how would that response or action make you feel? It’s darn near impossible to provide sustainable quality care if you don’t have a good core foundation to work with internally. If you are chaotic internally, no matter how hard you try, that chaos will leak out in stressful situations. It can present as sarcasm, a short temper, a lack of patience, speaking louder than you should, isolation, and many other forms. So today, let’s discuss how to build a foundation that will increase your emotional equivalence (EQ) and bring more stability into the care that you give to a senior, disabled person, or Veteran that may be suffering with PTSD. And if you read the same Book that I read ;-) you’ll find that these foundational principles should sound very familiar. But even if you don’t these are tools that you can center yourself upon and build relationship with. Because at the end of the day it’s about building quality authentic relationships. I have found that there are usually three (3) types of people that come into our
- Those that are there for a moment
- Those that are there for a season
- Those that are there for a lifetime
And it is important to not only know which category the people around you or the people that you meet fall into you also must know how to handle them and build the appropriate relationship for that particular person. Again, it all begins with finding internal peace and faith in knowing that you are here for a purpose and reason. For me…Unconditional Care Senior Services was birthed out of these foundational principles and it wasn’t until later in the process that I realized this. It was because I practiced making these principles part of who I was that it became the apparent environment and culture within the business. Now, when I say practice…I mean decades of practicing this because my work with seniors was a ministry for me (in an unofficial capacity) before it ever became a business. I have spent decades working with seniors, their needs, and their concerns. And if you have spent that much time working with so many different types, personalities, and cultures you would know that it’s impossible to withstand some of the outbursts that you will encounter if you are not grounded yourself. So let’s talk about these founding principles that I have used and learned throughout the years that has helped me become successful with seniors. Practice them until they become who you are as a person and the rewards you will get in return will be immeasurable.
- Kindness – the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
- Patience – the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
- There will be times in our lives when we will be delayed longer than expected standing in a grocery store line or life will bring trouble. Or maybe the senior that you are working with is having a really difficult day and is taking it out on you. Being able to take a breath and be empathetic (put yourself in their situation) will mitigate initial feelings of anger or retaliation that you may have. Do you know the difference between sympathy and empathy? Sympathy focuses on what you are feeling internally about another person. Empathy focuses on what that person if feeling about what is happening. So the next time you want to respond to a situation take a moment and reflect. Is your focus on how you are feeling about what the person is going through? When we react out of sympathy, even when we think we are doing the right thing or a kind act, we can push the other person into isolation. Here’s an example in order to try to bring clarity to what I’m saying;
- Dad has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but feels fine most days and wants to do things for himself. You are sympathetic to what your dad is going through and you call constantly throughout the day to check in on him, stop by after work to cook or clean for him, and constantly ask to ensure he is staying consistent with his medication. Your dad has stated many times that he is ok and he is taking care of himself right now and that he will call you when he needs something or needs help. Your sympathy doesn’t allow you to digest this easily because…He’s your dad, right?! So you continue with the calls, visits, and questions. What does dad do next…start ignoring the calls, not answering the door during the visits or becomes irritated when you stop by. Why do you think this is happening? He is beginning to isolate himself because you are doing instead of listening. And this can lead to anger and depression. The empathetic heart says, “Ok dad, this is not what I want to do, but I can honor your wishes. But just so I can sleep better at night is there a time/frequency that I can call or come by to check on you?” Sympathy makes you react while empathy responds.
- Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness
- Well, this one is kind of self-explanatory. Do what you love and find joy in doing…then master it!
- Love – UNCONDITIONAL warmth and devotion (yup, you guessed it, this is exactly where the name of the company came from…the name reflects the cornerstone and foundation of myself and the company)
- Learn to love without limits. Learn to love purely. Learn to love authentically. And after you’ve learned give it away freely. This is the one things that I have found that seniors (and anyone else) will respond the quickest too, but it must be genuine.
- Peace – freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
- Seniors can sometimes get easily distracted with small changes. For example, moving a jewelry box for a senior with dementia can throw them off for days and create outbursts. But what about you? Will their outbursts shake your emotional foundation? Will you react or respond to the situation? Will you keep your internal space peaceful or be the bully that is sparing with an 80 year old? The choice is yours. Find peace and live with the right decision.
- Goodness – moral excellence
- Notice I didn’t say moral perfection? Perfection gives a connotation of reaching the height of goodness…that you have perfect the art of being good. Well, if your immediate response is, “yes, that describes me perfectly” then I would suggest that you have a second thought. Can you define mastering goodness? Look, the truth is, with goodness and all of these foundations our goal should be excellence. To excelled in something means that you are embracing the process that it takes to go from one level of mastery to the next. So we spend a lifetime learning how to excel at being good because being good to your spouse, family member, or loved friend is one thing. But learning and disciplining yourself to be good at all times and in all situations (even when you are unfairly treated, accused, or threatened) is another thing. Practice being good.
- Faithfulness – the quality of being faithful
- Now this can be super difficult for people that like to plan and control everything.
- For example:
You plan a nice outing or picnic with the senior that you are providing care for and the senior has been excited and talking about it all week. But as you leave your house you get a disturbing phone call and your kids have been fighting all day. At this point you really don’t feel like being bothered with nor are you in the mood for preparing and packing a picnic. This is where you must practice ‘faith in action.’ Senior not only depend on you for services, they depend on you for companionship as well. In a situation like this could you/ would you faithfully trust that everything will work out for your greater good at home and be faithful to building a trusting relationship with that senior? Can that senior depend on you regardless of what is going on in your life currently? Well, if you practice having faith you will learn that the faithful you are the positive you will be and the more positive outcomes you will experience.
- Gentleness – the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered (softness of action)
- This is self-explanatory in a sense, especially when it comes to dealing with seniors. As a caregiver it’s important to practice this on many levels including the fact that a harsh touch, even if unintentional, can create a questionable bruise. Emotionally, it’s important to have a gentleness about you that will make the senior feel comfortable in your presence.
- Self-Control – the ability to control yourself in emotion and desire, especially in difficult situations
- This one goes right back to reacting vs. responding. Making the correct choice is critical.
Well, hopefully you’ve gained some tools to use, but if you don’t mind please leave a comment below. Let’s start a conversation that goes viral regarding the nine most Important Aspects of Senior Care.