An enriching, engaging, and empowering care approach can make a difference in the lives of people every day. Read these stories about the impact on Homewatch CareGivers clients.
Recipe to End Loneliness and Helplessness
A 70-year old woman with lupus had a bad fall and broke her hip, which led to feelings of isolation and helplessness as she lost the ability to do some activities of daily living. Her adult children contacted Homewatch CareGivers to get care for their mother and described their mother as depressed and lonely. As the caregiver got to know this woman she learned that she used to enjoy cooking—particularly a white bean chili. The caregiver suggested that she be the hands in the kitchen, with the woman providing all of the instructions. This was such a success that the woman next told the caregiver she was planning a potluck in her apartment building and her dish would be the chili! Soon after this social engagement, the woman--who previously was too withdrawn to even call Homewatch CareGivers herself and left it up to her children--called to tell the caregiver she could have the day off because she had plans with her friends.
The Simple Pleasure of Soap Operas—and Talking About Them Together
A former police captain had Parkinson’s disease and needed regular care with feeding, being changed and using the bathroom. One of this man’s simple pleasures was watching a soap opera on a regular basis. When the caregiver found out about this preference, he made a point of scheduling his time with the man during the soap opera so that not only would the man have this pleasant distraction from the sometimes humiliating tasks at hand, but also so they could bond together over the show and talk about it during their time together. By doing this, the caregiver showed an interest in what his client liked and could currently do.
The Ageless Appeal of Coffee
A European immigrant is in her 80s and in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Given her cultural heritage, coffee has been an important part of this woman’s life—the smell, the taste, the ritual, the social gathering. At some point it became clear to her caregivers that she could not make her daily coffee because of the mess of spilling water and coffee grounds. The caregiver found a way to set up the coffeemaker so that when the woman wakes up, she pushes a button and “makes” her coffee. She gets tremendous joy out of this daily ritual which allows her to “do” something, not be rendered helpless and at the mercy of others. Rather than eliminate simple pleasures due to current limitations, find a way to restore simple pleasures in your loved one’s day.
A 90-year old Canadian man in a complex care home, was being rude and belligerent because he felt the staff was beneath him intellectually. The caregiver came in and was able to get the man to do some tasks himself—for example, when he asked to have his banana cut up, she handed him a knife and fork. Now the family has observed that he laughing more, telling jokes, whereas before they were ready to put him on anti-depressants and he was not cooperating with the staff.
A man in his 60s has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and recently experienced such a loss of muscle control that he could no longer go to the pool to swim daily. His caregiver wanted to find a new activity for this man to enjoy. Although the man is only recently retired from the military and has children and grandchildren, he requires a significant amount of care every day—more than his family has the time or ability to provide consistently. The caregiver asked the man what else he enjoyed doing so that they could find a new activity to replace the swimming and he could still look forward to going out and having some social engagement if not physical activity. As a result of this conversation, the caregiver learned that this man loved to go fishing and hunting. On a beautiful early spring day, the two were able to find a perfect fishing spot and enjoyed a day out in the fresh air together.
Crafting Her Way to Happiness
Once a dance teacher and mother of two, a 74-year old woman in San Diego now lives with diabetes, COPD, lung cancer, depression and she is a recent brain cancer survivor. As her caregiver got to know her, she learned that this woman had also worked at craft supply stories and had a passion for doing crafts. The two of them went to the store and got supplies to make a “candy lei” and had a ball creating these together. Not only was fun had during the project, the adult daughter of this woman later shared what it difference it made in her mother’s wellbeing. “For the first time in years, she surprised us with making a gift. It wasn't anything she had to have me do or arrange for her, she was sooooooo happy to have done it on her own. Having consistent caregivers that truly care about what my mom needs and enjoys is huge for us. It's making a difference in her, we can see it. Her confidence is better, she is happier, she's just better all around.”