Passionate giving of care ...

Yesterday I was with two clients. One is home and requires support to stay there the other in formal LTC. As I work with aging adults every day I witness something that breaks my heart. Yesterday was no exception. Caring in the home is an initiative that our government (Ontario MoH aging in place strategy, see below) launched many years ago. It is good on paper and desired by most, if not all aging adults. However, in practice it feels very different. I am part of that "aging in place" strategy, via private home care option. There is so much truth in "you get what you pay for".

Particularly though yesterday I was in a LTC home one-on-one with a woman providing cognitive stimulation as she has advancing dementia. My role is to encourage her to use her thinking skills and analytical abilities to do simple tasks, therefore exercising the brain. I was sitting with her in conversation and another woman in a wheelchair, within earshot, asked me if there was an orange on the snack cart. I replied in the affirmative. She asked if she could have it. I got up and got it for her and asked if she needed assistance peeling it. She replied, no that she could do it. I handed her the orange and a napkin. When she was finished I asked if I could assist her in disposing of the peel. She was gathering it up. I suggested I hold the trash can and she could gather and put it in herself. She was so pleased. Sounds simple doesn't it?

It was simple. What was simple was I allowed her to do for herself what she was able to do without taking away anything. I waited patiently while her gnarled arthritic hands picked up peel, and orange sections sucked dry of all juice, and put it in the trash. I stayed silent and when finished I said, "Was it good?" and she smiled a toothless grin and said, "so good!"

When I sat back down she turned to me and my client and said, "you are so kind. I just knew by the way you were talking that you are kind and caring. We need more people like you." This goes hand in hand with my workplace where every client prefaces a simple request with "I know you are so busy, but could you please ....".

When did we get so busy that caring becomes a burden to the one needing care? When did our "jobs" impose this horrible feeling upon the very person who pays for the 8X10 room that provides me with a job? Why do employers put caregivers in such a position to be so overburdened with work that we impose this busyness and this overwork onto the most vulnerable sector? My last question is when did human caregivers get so overwhelmed to impose woes upon those who are only able to ruminate these sad tales over and over again after we have left the room? This is where I differ and it is not a given it is work to check myself every day and question myself in order to keep my story to myself and make my client the most important person of the moment.

Caregiving is an art and a practice. I requires skills like no other profession outside of the health industry. Private home care is a good option, take advantage of it for your loved one. Contact me for more information or to learn more. See the beauty before you and in the background. Care is doing both!

Google search:
Once home is no longer an option... "seniors have to go through a lengthy process with one of the 6,220 employees of Ontario's 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) to qualify for a place in a public long-term facility, then join a lengthy waiting list." 2014 http://www.mississauga.com/news-story/4634290-ontario-looks-for-alternate-care-options-for-aging-seniors-damerla-says/

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