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"It Takes a Village..."
By: Jean Cannon
We are not caregivers and
the residents are not caretakers.
We are care partners. We partner with the
residents, with their families and with each other to
offer care services.
None of us is a care partner because of the glamor or
the high pay that accompanies this profession. We do
what we do because we have extraordinarily large hearts
and compassion for others. The rewards are tremendous!
All of the care partners at this memory care community
are fearless, creative, and super strong advocates for
“their” residents. They work hard at figuring out what
works best for each individual resident and then they
lobby for and implement their ideas.
Tasha recently accompanied a resident to the emergency
room where she recognized that the ER staff was
inadvertently creating a higher stress situation for the
resident. Tasha is a care partner who doesn’t ever
have contact with medical professionals (such as ER
doctors), but she stepped up and reminded the ER staff
that the resident had dementia and requested that they
all ”back off” and approach and instruct the resident
“one at a time.” As the resident’s advocate,
Tasha was getting frustrated herself with the ER
approach of efficiency! The ER staff heeded her
advice and the gentleman calmed down.
Carmy and Wendy travelled out of state to meet and
accompany a cognitively impaired gentleman back to
Colorado. They prepared by contacting the airlines
prior to the travel to explain their unique situation,
had snacks and activities to keep the resident relaxed,
and a letter from the physician explaining their
situation to the airport and airline staff. Their
efforts resulted in an unstressed travel experience for
Vian knows that a cup of coffee and her calm demeanor at
3:00 AM, along with her reassurances that she “would get
everyone out of his house with the aid of the local
police,” serve to relax a resident sufficiently.
A recent visitor referred to the residents as “crazy.”
Linda immediately spoke up and corrected the visitor by
saying that the residents were NOT crazy, but were
adults who had a disease. The visitor changed his
approach immediately and Linda demonstrated her respect
for the individual residents and preserved their
One new resident came with a physician’s order to be
sedated 30 minutes prior to his shower so that he would
be “more cooperative” during his personal care.
Amanda requested that the order be discontinued for a
couple of weeks so that she could try HER approach.
She spent the next 10 days getting to know the man and
in establishing a relationship of trust with him.
Her efforts paid off and she was able to successfully
provide his personal care in a non-stressful,
Every day the care partners demonstrate their
“fearlessness” and creativity by coming up with ideas to
make the residents’ lives meaningful, purposeful, more
relaxed and stress-free. They use a kind approach,
kind words, ice cream, music, re-direction, and lots of
hugs and smiles.