By Brenda Thompson
My clients all want to keep their independence as long as possible. As a caregiver with Visiting Angels, my job is to help the elderly stay in their homes. My most recent client is both deaf and blind. He has had to do things for himself his entire 87 years. Now that I am there to help, he is reluctant to accept any assistance.
Other caregivers have had altercations with him over this issue. They are there to help, and are professionals, so it is hard to step back. My approach is to let him do as much for himself as he possibly can. I stand by for safety but wait until he requests help before assisting. If he takes ten minutes to do up the buttons on his shirt, it’s no problem. If he wants to do his laundry and spins the dial around a few times before landing on the correct spot, so be it.
Sometimes it is harder to stand back than to intervene. We live in a fast-paced society where we are used to instant gratification. Seniors haven’t always had it easy, and sometimes a little struggle that leads to a small accomplishment means a lot.
Growing up, Brenda cared for her grandmother who had post polio syndrome. Today, she is a professional caregiver in Colorado who believes every day can bring new challenges, and with those challenges come great rewards.