FOR EMPLOYEES:  FORMS | EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

Casmir Cares Services Inc Logo

Archive for April, 2019

Caregiving for Adults with Intellectual or Behavior Issues: How to Diffuse Tension

Working with people who have intellectual disabilities or behavioral issues can be challenging, Daisy Williams takes steps to minimize stressors in the lives of those she cares for. She has been a direct care professional who provides care for individuals who live in Casmir Care’s Community Residential homes for eight years and counting.

Her work involves direct caregiving. The individuals she works with have cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder. She helps them with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing, continence and instrumental activities of daily living such as cooking, caring for pets, completing housework, and using the phone.

When caring for individuals in Casmir Care Services’ Community Residential Homes, she has noticed that sometimes what people watch on television can set them off. Someone who is fully bipolar, schizophrenic, or both, may think everything happening on “Jerry Springer” is about himself or herself. The individual may react to what they see by saying, “I don’t have any gun,” Daisy said.

 

(Residential Associate Daisy Williams demonstrates the “soft face” she uses to calm  residents down.)

Avoiding Triggers

“So, you have to be really careful about what you put on the television,” she said. Sometimes something said on TV triggers something in their memory. Then the individual may react to it by becoming sad or violent or having an outburst. “And you have to know them to be able to understand what just happened to them, so you can diffuse it,” she said.

When individuals in care are accidentally exposed to things that trigger them, Daisy’s standard procedure is to proceed with caution. “The most important thing I do is stay calm and do not speak until I’m sure that they’re ready to be approached,” she said.

As direct care staff, you must be sure it’s the best time to approach the individual. Sometimes, it is safer to not move and first carefully assess the situation.

Diffusing Tension

“And you try to look in their eyes softly,” she said. Make your eyes soft so that you can melt their heart, she advised. “Then they’ll open back up to you,” she said. “But you have to be able to do that.”

When pressed for more details, she said to put on a soft face with puppy dog eyes. You might say something like: “I feel your pain. Tell me what you need. I wish I could make it go away.” Watch the person’s body language. Once they relax, perhaps unballing fists and you see the tension drop away from the person’s body, it will be easier to approach the individual. Then you gently say, “That was then. We’re here for you.”

Mental Redirection

If a resident is having problems that day, Daisy tries to ease them into working toward having a better day tomorrow. The idea is to keep them focused on what’s ahead and the good things in their life as opposed to whatever they were voicing concern about. She might bring up something fun they did in the past, like going to Dave & Buster’s, and suggest doing it again. The mental redirect gives them something else to think about, she explained.

Those under care trust Daisy to understand their needs. “I’m more of a mom caretaker”, she said.

As director of operations here at Casmir Care Services, I know that Daisy has a great sense of intuition that helps her manage our individuals’ needs with ease. Her antennae are always out, trying to a get a read on how they are feeling. She has the patience, flexibility, compassion, and empathy required to deal with the individuals we support. She has demonstrated this consistently over the years and with a cross-section of the individuals we support. Our individuals are lucky to have her help them through their days.

Resources
How to support a loved one during a psychotic episode
Solving problems can enhance resilience and improve adjustment
Being an effective caregiver
Caregiver and schizophrenia: How to handle the psychosis

Special Olympics Gives Millions of People with Intellectual Disabilities a Way to Stand Out

You might have noticed last week that the Special Olympics was at the center of a brouhaha after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos confirmed there were plans to cut its $17.6 million in government funding. The public outcry was so fierce that President Trump quickly reversed his education secretary’s decision and authorized the funding.

Maybe he realized that cutting the funding made it look like his administration was cruel, cutting access to inclusive programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Special Olympics has roots in an innovative summer camp that Eunice Kennedy Shriver started for young people with intellectual disabilities in 1962 in her backyard in a Washington, D.C. suburb. She wanted to see if they could participate in sports and physical activities. It was a revolutionary idea at the time.

When the first Special Olympics games were held in 1968, people with intellectual disabilities did not have many opportunities to take part in sports. Many lived in institutions. Most could not go to school, as several years would have to pass before the law said kids with disabilities had the same right to an education as everyone else.

The Special Olympics ultimately became one of the first places where people with intellectual disabilities could be seen and accepted. Both kids and adults now participate in Special Olympics sports.

Growing Fast
By the 1980s, the Special Olympics was recognized as the premier sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities around the world.

By 2016, the Special Olympics exceeded its ambitious goal of getting 1 million athletes and partners involved in Unified Sports, which brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.

These days, 4.9 million athletes with intellectual disabilities take part in Special Olympics programs around the world. In addition, more than 1 million coaches and volunteers are involved. There are 223 programs in 172 countries.

Outstanding Athletes
In March 2019, Angela Athenas, 34, of Huntington, N.Y., won a gold medal in deadlift, squat, bench press, and overall weight lifting at the International Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi. Her heaviest deadlift was 292 pounds.” I keep going and I never stop going,” Athenas told Eyewitness News. Although she has ADHD, bipolar disorder, and a mild intellectual delay, they haven’t limited her ability to be a standout in her sport.

“The best part about being involved with Special Olympics is to meet new friends and to prove that people with disabilities can do anything that we put our minds to do,” wrote Robert Moore, 27, an equestrian with autism from Tampa, Fla., who won a gold medal for dressage, a highly skilled form of riding. He has been going to the Special Olympics for 16 years. As a young child, he suffered from poor core strength and sat curled in a ball. Working with horses, which involves considerable core power, starting at age 5 changed that.

The Special Olympics offers many ways to get involved including short- and long-term volunteer opportunities, the option of playing unified sports, and becoming a Special Olympics athlete.

Learn more about how to get involved with Special Olympics:

Become an athlete

Become a volunteer

Become an official

 

Our Vision

A leading agency providing quality, effective, person-centered, flexible and innovative services in Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

Contact Us

4950 Parkside Ave, Suite 400,
Philadelphia, Pa 19131
Phone: 267-292-3116
Fax: 267-292-4879
support@casmircares.com

We Are Hiring!

Find a purposeful career by joining our staff! Casmir Care Services is currently hiring:

Director of Programs

Residential Site Supervisor 

Direct Support Professionals (DSP)