The Yes Space
A good approach to providing exceptional respect for your patient and yourself is to have a conversation about things that both of you can say yes to. To say yes, begin by accessing something in your patient's long-term memory that is positive and you can include it in an activity of the day. Your patient's past positive experiences may be a foundation for new and future positive experiences. Experiential learning activities that are designed to access your patient's long term memory, and stimulate the senses, will help you create exceptional caregiving opportunities. If possible, include use of the five senses during the new activity.
For example: If you have a conversation with your recipient about favorite foods, you have the subject matter for great ideas that can bridge the past to the present. One good idea would be to make the food and share it. If you are unfamiliar with the type of food that your recipient is talking about, you can use Google to find valuable information about what the food is and where to find it near your location. Make sure to share your research findings from Google with the recipient. If conducting research online is not your preference, another option is for you to go to a grocery store for assistance.
After you have prepared the meal, share it with your recipient. Make the meal a special event by referring to pleasant things that are happening in the moment. If the recipient associates the meal with something pleasant from the past, this is a very good sign. Take a photo or shoot a video to record the event. Show the visuals to the recipient and celebrate! You just built a bridge from the past to the present for both of you to enjoy. A great day trip! Congratulations!
Grace in Work Exercise
Caregiving can be rewarding yet difficult work. It requires caregivers to help people who may not be feeling well or who may not necessarily want assistance, even though the assistance is necessary. Because of this inherent job difficulty, a caregiver must have advanced level skills in lifting a patient's mood. This caregiving duty requires a lot of positive focused energy and dignified interaction with a patient. So, it follows that caregivers need to re-center themselves at some point in time during the workday. The re-centering break is necessary so you can replenish your positive energy, restore focus, and bring back grace and dignity to your workplace. Be prepared to take 10 minutes of time during your work day to be a better caregiver.
My 10 minute re-centering exercise is a reminder of how I should conduct myself with gentleness while I'm working. The activity also provides me with a bonus, a cardio aerobic lift. I developed a Dance-Exercise featuring a port-de-bras or carriage of the arms, which reflects the arm movements that caregivers do while working. The repertoire begins with a Mindfulness breathing exercise then stretching, reaching, lifting, and sweeping movement that can be performed while seated or standing with your feet facing forward, shoulders distance apart. In addition, there is an advanced soft lunge movement that allows you to travel when standing and performing the sweeping movement with your arms.
This is the first in a series of short Dance-Exercise videos about keeping grace and dignity in caregiving. We would love to have you come along with us on our movement journey and your feedback would be very much appreciated. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. For more information about the Dance-Exercise video series, please watch Grace in Work Exercise: Episode 1.