A big part of being a caregiver is listening and being there for residents

Caregivers and residents can have a very strong bond between them as time goes on.

After being able to learn about a new resident from staff and family we are able to move forward to help the resident feel they are more at home. Talking with the resident you may find out that you know some of the same people. This will help with learning about each other.

As the days continue you get to learn more about each other. Your topic of conversation could be about almost anything. One day you may talk about the resident growing up on the family farm. You may hear about riding in a sleigh in the winter time or riding a horse to school instead of riding in a bus to school like today. With this it helps you again with the trust of the resident.

We may one day talk about someone we know in common. For example, Mrs. B. from down the street who made the very best chocolate chip cookies.

But then one day the resident’s family is at the care facility with bad news about the passing of Mrs. B. Your resident is shocked by the bad news. The resident’s family stays with her to help ease the pain of the loss of Mrs. B. Later that evening her family leaves for home.

That evening, the resident asks if you can stay a few extra minutes so she can talk to you. You say sure is there anything I can help with. That is when your resident feels she can finally talk open and free about Mrs. B.

The two of you take time to talk about Mrs. B and everything she has done for so many people. The way she raised her family and how nice her family turned out. How good of a grandma she was and how she always put the kids before herself. How she helped so much in church with ladies’ aide.

Your resident tells you about the sewing Mrs. B. had done. How she paid close attention to all the detail when she sewed.

Then the chocolate chip cookies are mentioned that Mrs. B made. Your resident tells you they were the best mouth-watering cookies she had ever had.

You pull up a chair next to your resident. The two of you hold hands in silence. Your resident asks if she could say a prayer for Mrs. B. You tell her of course you may do that if that is your wish. Your resident says a short prayer for Mrs. B.

After a short period of time your resident turns, looks at you and tells you: Thank you for being here for me. I’ll be better now.

Mike Maday is a Care Manager at Lakeview Methodist Healthcare Center in Fairmont, Minnesota. 

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