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Medicine for the Soul- A Caregiverís Guide
to a Spiritual Relationship

By Myrna Wolf, B.A.

(Page 2 of 2)

Use your sense of humor. Recall past funny experiences with them and encourage laughter. When my mother first moved into her new home, a gentleman pursued her. He is now in a wheelchair; she has dementia. When I saw him in the lobby, I asked her if that was the man who was running after her. She smiled and said, "Run, he can't even walk!" We laughed; she felt so smart. We connected.

Don't negate their fears by saying "Everyone forgets sometimes." They know at some level that their level of forgetting isn't the norm. I laugh with my mother and tell her that her memory is lousy. She laughs too, and then tells me how scared she is. We hug and I tell her that our family will always take care of her.

Itís not easy or simple, but somehow, it is easy and simple. I grow and learn every day. I know that the real person inside needs to be stroked, and accepted and loved. Sing old songs, play music, play. Speak from your heart, not your mind. Tell them all the good things you remember. Touch, hug, rub their arm and brush their hair. We forget that old people do not get physically touched in loving ways very often. Let them feel the human connection. That's how our sprits connect, too.

And I myself am not getting any younger. I think I will send this letter to my sons.

 

Myrna Wolf is President of Compassionate Companions, Inc., an agency specializing is serving the non-medical needs of the older adults and their families. She is a respected caregiver, trainer, and public speaker.

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