In my work as a geriatric care manager I’m always looking for the win/win/win scenario: the client wins, the caregiver wins, the community wins.
I see so many caregivers frustrated because their loved ones won’t accept the help they appear to need. But who really wants to “be helped?” We are used to being independent and productive, and many people resent the idea that they need assistance.
I’ve found that magic can occur in situations where no one is being “helped” but everyone is giving a gift that someone else appreciates. My perfect example is “The Drawing Class.” Here’s how it went:
I was taking a drawing class from the artist Mike Uriss. On the final evening of class, Mike was hoping we could draw from a live model and asked if I knew anyone who would sit for us. Hmmm – yes! I thought of one of my favorite clients: Ms B., a social butterfly stranded at home due to limited mobility.
Ms. B. was happy to give the class the gift of having a model, and the event gave me a perfect excuse to get her out of the house and have her meet new people. The drawing students were very pleased to have a model and treated Ms. B. like a queen. I was grateful that Ms. B. was willing to pose not only for the drawing class, but for my camera as well. It was indeed a magical evening for everyone.
That magic was evident on the face of Ms. B. when I photographed her. Later, when I showed the photograph to Mike, he felt inspired to draw her portrait again, from the photograph. He said that drawing came to him more freshly and easily than any other. More magic.
That drawing is now framed and hanging in Ms. B’s home. She beams whenever she sees it. And I beam whenever I see her. I’m a firm believer that when everyone is giving and everyone is grateful, no one needs help.