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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 the resident.

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 dignity.

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, non-medicated manner!

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.

 


 

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