Among the team at Care is There, we describe ourselves as miracle makers.
Miracle makers? Isn’t that a little over-the-top? Sure, we help with all kinds of everyday things, but… miracles?
We use powerful language intentionally. First of all, caregiving is difficult. Sometimes it’s a long slog of things that don’t seem very significant. It’s so easy to get discouraged and doubtful about the impact we have on people’s lives.
Yet the small tasks we do sometimes have a remarkable impact. When one of our teammates makes a tiny thing happen that makes a positive impact in a client’s life, we encourage, we cheer, and we celebrate!
Miracles Creates Joy
Consider one of my teammates who recently took a client to his audiologist for hearing aid adjustments. It’s a routine chore, but during the appointment, an amazing thing happened. The audiologist found the client’s ear was impacted with wax, and she cleaned it out.
You don’t think that’s amazing? We do! It made a huge difference to our client. He was not able to hear well at all, and because of his dementia, he couldn’t figure out why or even communicate that he was having a problem. When you can’t hear, you get shut off from the world and that’s pretty depressing. His world was shrinking, and we contributed to opening his world up again. The quiet, distracted, and introverted man whom our Lifestyle Coordinator took to the appointment was transformed on the way home. He could share in conversation with our Lifestyle Coordinator, and he was much more cheerful and lighter in mood. That’s a huge difference from our point of view.
Miracles in Advocacy
Another way we make miracles is through advocacy, particularly when we assist clients with their medical issues. Advocacy is defined as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal” (Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary, April 27, 2016). This definition is a little hard to understand; consider an actual situation where advocacy made a difference:
Through a series of unfortunate events, a client was preparing for the amputation of her left leg above the knee. She and her Lifestyle Coordinator (LC) met with her surgeon and the surgery date was set. The surgeon arranged for a representative from the hospital’s preferred prosthetic provider to join us and start the conversation about fitting for a prosthetic leg. They had a good conversation with the representative, and the appointment concluded.
The client’s daughter-in-law knew of another prosthetics company and strongly urged her mother-in-law (our client) to consider them. The LC first confirmed with the client that she did want to investigate the other company, and then made an appointment with them. The LC attended the appointment a few days later and helped the client thoroughly communicate about her condition, her questions, her goals, and her concerns. Because of this appointment, the client chose to work with the alternate prosthetics company. She made a more informed choice because she had more information. The LC made such a choice possible.
Sometimes seniors don’t want to seem uninformed or distrustful of their care providers and they agree to everything the provider suggests. In this example, the client was under a lot of stress and anxiety being ill, in pain, and anticipating life-altering surgery. People just don’t think clearly under these circumstances! Lifestyle Coordinators, as advocates, have the courage to speak up, ask questions, and remain focused. They know their clients’ goals and they can share information that might be overlooked.
Miracles Through Relationship
A third way Lifestyle Coordinators make miracles is by supporting the family. Many of our clients do not have a strong support system near where they live. There may be only one family member nearby who is trying manage his own busy life. Other family members might be across the country and only get bits and pieces of information about what is going on with their elderly loved one.
We received this compliment from a client’s family recently:
“Thanks [LC name], I cannot tell you how reassuring it is to know that you, who everyone trusts, are doggedly checking out these large unknown financial questions.”
The Lifestyle Coordinator works primarily with this client’s finances, assisting with bill paying and managing her daily expenses. The compliment makes us proud because we know that the LC is someone that everyone in the client circle trusts, even if some of those people disagree with each other. The engagement with Care is There provides valuable reassurance to the family that their loved one is looked after and is less likely to get into financial trouble, such as scams or fraud. Finally, keeping up with the finances is the LC’s job, and she is focused on checking options and variables. Family members don’t have to spend their own time researching and investigating. The miracle is how we can get the job done, when family members might get caught up in drama from relationship histories.
Making a Difference is the Miracle
In any of these stories, what would it have been like, if we weren’t there? It’s hard to know. When things go well, few people think about all of the small decisions that had to take place before a big event, just to make everything go smoothly. At the time those decisions are being made, hardly anyone knows the potential impact down the line.
At Care is There, we know what it takes to make a difference. Sometimes the difference is more joy every day, sometimes the difference is a future with greater mobility, and sometimes the difference is a family kept whole. We love what we do, and celebrating both tiny successes and giant victories keeps us going, because making a difference for seniors matters.
For more articles like this, see: Resources for Central Virginia, News and Events, Resources for Central Virginia – Charlottesville, Resources for Central Virginia – Harrisonburg, Resources for Central Virginia – Staunton, Resources for Kansas City.
Do you need help managing the care of an elderly loved one in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, or Staunton Virginia or in Kansas City or Overland Park, Kansas?
Contact us at Care is There Geriatric Care Management for a free consultation: 800.434.1633 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We specialize in geriatric care management, support for independent living, assisted living enhancement, Aging Life Care™ services, and peace of mind for long distance caregivers.
AGING LIFE CARE™ is a trademark of the Aging Life Care Association. Only ALCA members are authorized to use this term to identify their services. See the Team page of CareisThere.com for a list of our associates, and look for the Aging Life Care logo on the bio pages of our ACLA members.