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An Attitude

By Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity

 As I wrote in my first blog, The Thin Edge of Dignity, life in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF), can lead to depression  when a once independent person is unable to carry out basic activities of daily living – toileting, showering, dressing.  He is forced into dependency.  But depression – even anger – can worsen when one looks for help, from one expected to care, and confronts an attitude.

Caregiver implies a giver of assistance, help, succor; maybe even a protector or defender; an enabler.  When the caregiver does not provide that comfort,  not only can depression infiltrate a resident’s emotional state, but the gates are open to feelings of oppression, helplessness, weakness, and powerlessness.

From the one engaged, and those who observe.

As a disabled elder, my home forever will be an Assisted Living Facility.  I will be joined to a person who will provide my personal care.  It would be ideal, if those who need care and those who provide it, walk together, as partners, nice to one another, through the resident’s last journey on life’s path.

This beneficent thought can vaporize into wishful thinking when a caregiver cops an attitude:  is aggressive, disdainful, insulting, bossy, pissed off, or requires a “pretty please, with sugar on it” humility from the resident

Thankfully, these attitudes are rare.  Most caregivers do care.  But what prompts holding an attitude?   Do the caregivers let personal feelings toward an elder interfere with the mission of  providing  dignity and compassion?  Has the caregiver’s training failed to inculcate the ethic of care?  Has employment screening selected out those on power trips or indifferent to the plight of others? Has recruiting been haphazard, focusing on quantity rather than quality? Is the caregiver over worked? Is pay commensurate with the range of what is asked – from giving solace to a Hospice resident to cleaning a toilet?

From the macro perspective, does management establish a climate of respect and nurturing?  Are caregivers given the kind of treatment they are expected to give the residents? Is the culture which embraces the ALF a model of dignity, compassion, and worth?

When the culture radiates mutual caring, then the resident will feel secure knowing that the journey to the end will be tranquil.

 

Caregiver implies a giver of care, assistance, help, succor; maybe a protector, defender; an enabler; one who looks after.  When those wished for and expected behaviors are shredded, not only can depression infiltrate a resident’s emotional state, but the gates are open to feelings of oppression, helplessness, weakness, and powerlessness.

As a disabled elder, my home forever will be an Assisted Living Facility.  I will be joined to a person who will provide my personal care.  It would be the ideal, if those who need care and those who provide it, walk together, as partners, nice to one another, through the resident’s last journey on life’s path.

This beneficent thought can vaporize into your thought process when a caregiver cops an attitude:  is aggressive, disdainful, insulting, bossy, pissed off, or requires a “pretty please, with sugar on it” humility from the resident

Thankfully, these attitudes are rare.  Most caregivers do care.  But why would it appear?   Do the caregivers let personal feelings toward an elder interfere with the mission of ALF living -- to provide dignity and compassion?  Has training been thorough in inculcating the ethic of care?  Has employment screening selected out those on power trips or indifferent to the plight of others? Has recruiting been haphazard, focusing on quantity rather than quality? Is the caregiver overworked? Is pay commensurate with what is asked – from giving solace to a Hospice resident to cleaning a toilet?

On a wider stage, does management establish a climate of respect and nurturing?  Are caregivers given the kind of treatment they are expected to give the residents? Is the culture which embraces the ALF a model of dignity, compassion, and worth?

When the culture radiates that humanity, then the resident will feel secure knowing that the journey to the end will be tranquil.

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Guildhaus Photographics



 

 

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