Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Care Partner Wednesday--Hug A Care Partner Today


No, do more than hug.

Give them the gift of your time.

Today began with falling snow and baking muffins and joy. Somewhere around noon, it all fell apart.
One of my residents was unresponsive and I worried that I was seeing stroke symptoms. Another with serious heart issues was unwell. We were trying to serve lunch to 30 people and the nurse was scurrying between the two men while we watched, concerned.

Three attempts to help a new resident get phone service failed because he didn't know his account number. (Really? Does anyone know their phone company account number off the top of their head, let alone a 92 year-old man?) A good hour of my day was spent on those three attempts, which would have been fine if it had worked, but now that task is on tomorrow's list.

I've worked with people with dementia for years, and usually can talk my way out of most situations, but today, everyone got mad at me. One man looked at me with utter disgust when I tried to dissuade him from going out on a cold, snowy day, and told me exactly how much brain power he felt I possessed. Another man decided to play a drum solo with the cutlery on one of the tables set for dinner, and didn't appreciate me stopping him. A lady with whom I have a close, loving relationship was furious with me because she'd been on a trip and was tired and she just wanted to get out of this airport.

And my phone is broken. How is that relevant? I didn't realize how often I garnered support from the other advocates through texting. Sometimes it's sharing a funny experience, sometimes it's information, and often it's needing a listening ear. Without my phone, I feel totally isolated.

But--now I am home. It's quiet. My puppy is snuggled up against me and my happy lamp is on and no one is demanding or acting angry or uncooperative. I can recharge my batteries for another day.

The full time care partner seldom has that privilege. They don't get to leave, they seldom get breaks, and some days, the demand goes on and on.

So here is my message to you. Do you know anyone who is caring for a loved on in their home? Don't ever say, "Call me if you need help." They won't. Instead, spend time with them. Discover what would be the most helpful. Maybe you can develop a relationship with their loved one, and  spend time each week relieving the care partner. Perhaps there is someone else who can look after things at home, and you can have a regular lunch date together. Maybe a phone call once a week would help. Perhaps a home baked meal and your company to share it on a regular basis would fit the bill.

Whatever it is, commit yourself to reaching out and giving of yourself.

Hug a care partner today. Then do more.

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Care Partner Wednesday--Hug A Care Partner Today

2 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about all that you went through today. What a heavy load you had to deal with and no phone on top of it. God bless you for being a care giver through your position as advocate at the nursing center. All caregivers deserve a break and a cup of hot chocolate with their feet up and a head and neck massage. Maybe you can close your eyes while snuggling your puppy and at least pretend.

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    1. Thank you so much, Deb. In telling my story, I wanted to focus on full-time care partners, and how much harder it is when you can't go home or leave the insanity behind for a few hours. That said, I'll take that neck rub any day!

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