Updated: Mar 31, 2020
What I have learned and experienced this year...
I believe the best gift we can give each other is the gift of "experience". As a Caregiver myself, I understand the journey comes with joy, anger, fear, frustration and an unexplained feeling of vulnerability from watching someone you love suffer day in and day out. What I'm finding is that every time I hear someone else speak about things I'm feeling, it helps me to normalize what I'm feeling and gives me confidence to trust my instincts as a Wife and a Caregiver and meet matters that allows me to thrive instead of just survive.
I'm blessed to meet so many Professional and Family Caregivers that share their stories, experiences, ruhro's and ahhaa's with me to help me create training's that answer the questions our Professional and Family Caregivers would not even know how to ask.
I remember when I started as a Caregiver Coach, I read all the books and took all the training that was available and started out on my adventure of supporting Caregiver's. I thought well this is genius, really supporting the Caregivers so they can continue to support the ones they are caring for!! Perfect!!!
It reminded me of that old philosophy of "if MaMa isn't happy, ain't no one happy"... Although there is significant truth to that statement, what I didn't realize is that for Family Caregivers, if the people they support are not ok, there is a slim chance the Caregiver is ok. To what degree they are not ok, depends on the degree of how not ok the person they are caring for is. The added physical and metal strain of transitioning to the next step in the journey or dealing with a crisis that pops up, takes a toll on the entire family unit.
Unfortunately, as Professional Caregiver's, we get the brunt of transitions and are challenged by angry families and patients that are running on fear. Fear of what is happening, fear of what is going to happen next, and the fear of not having enough emotional gas in the tank to go to run the race. Not to mention, they are fighting for their lives and holding on to anything and everything they can grab to maintain a sense of hope and optimism that allows them to continue along the journey. Our clients are constantly grieving; grieving what was, the loss of dreams and the absences of anything they ever knew to be normal. We can make a huge difference for folks if we pay attention differently and acknowledge what's really going on instead of adding to the overwhelming pile of suffering. After all, our job as ALL Caregivers is to relieve suffering not add to it. Are we doing a good job?
I am consistently asked for a process, procedure or a checklist to help agencies become more "Person Centered" in the care that they provide. My response is always the same, I can give you some tools to collect information about the people you are supporting, however those tools are not going to do you any good if you don't know how to connect. "Person Centered Care" can NOT be found in a checklist, it needs to be FELT!!
The workshops I've created give you 57 PowerPoint's, but that's not the WOO HOO here. We create an experience together during that time. My workshops engage your mind, challenge your perspective and leave you with thought provoking ideas and tools that will help you connect in a whole different way with the people you work with and support. Best of all, by setting your foundation of knowledge, whether you are a Professional or Family Caregiver if will empower you to support and connect with people in a way that encourages, empowers and restores your ability to be patient, kind and understanding.
This year I've had people express how I've helped them "see" people they support a different way. Expectations they have for themselves are challenged in a way that helps them get a healthy understanding, so they can set healthy expectations and boundaries. Hence healthier Caregivers...better care...better lives...better journeys...
For me this year has been about discovering and feeling the effect of how our Professional Caregivers can make or break a journey. Do we as Professionals understand the power we hold and the influence we have? I think not. If you look at your staff, do you have that one person who is successful with pretty much every client they come in contact with. Are there people you rely on in your organization to help with the "difficult" clients and families? If so, what do they do different?? I can guarantee you it has everything to do with how they connect.. Watch...
I firmly believe, "How you start... dictates where you end..." Krisie Barron LSW,
How are you going to start your journey today... ? Doing the same old same old?? Or will you CHOOSE to CONNECT in a new way???