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Archive for May, 2019

How to Free Yourself to be a Better Caregiver

Besides the ability to creatively solve problems and defuse tension before it escalates, caregivers who work with individuals with intellectual disabilities need a certain amount of resilience to get through their work day.

Because individuals with intellectual disabilities may not have strong reasoning or social skills, they may not know how to filter out some of the thoughts that pop to mind. And that makes them fairly uninhibited about expressing their feelings when they get worked up about something or frustrated when something doesn’t go their way.

In these situations, a certain amount of resilience, patience, and flexibility can make a caregiver’s job easier. Caregivers who are able to stay calm no matter what the individual is doing will find work easier than those who are thin-skinned.

 

It’s not about you

It’s important not to take anything an individual says about you personally, says Daisy Williams, a direct care professional with Casmir Care’s Community Residential Homes. Sometimes, she has noticed that less experienced staff at places she has worked are not as easygoing or patient as other caregivers. “Their buttons are more easily pushable than mine are,” she says.

But when you don’t take things personally, it frees you to be a better caregiver, she says.

If you do take a verbal attack personally, it’s hard to use a comforting voice to pacify the person. “You have to calm yourself first and not let thoughts run through you head” about how they should know better, she says. “No, they don’t know better. They’re angry and they’re just expressing themselves, and you just happened to be right there at the time.”

 

Tomorrow is a better day

It may also help to realize that the individual might not be angry tomorrow. You might have a good day ahead with them. “So think about that,” she says. The attitude to take is: “Okay, we’re just going to get through this day and look forward to a better day tomorrow.”

As a caregiver who has been working for Casmir Care Services Inc. for eight years, Daisy has noticed that the people who stay a long time at one company have a thick skin. They tend to be the ones who are good at controlling their emotions when situations heat up. They are the ones who are able to separate the fact that the resident is just expressing himself in a way that you would if you were at home and somebody was not doing what you asked them to do.

“It helps to stay really calm, no matter what the person is doing,” she says.

 

Offer other options

And sometimes a compromise is in order. As a caregiver, you may not always be able to convince the individual to do something your way. But you can get him to understand that there are more options. For example, you might do something his way that time, but tell him, “I want to show you other ways as well.”

A lot of her job as a direct care professional with Casmir Care involves coming up with other options, Daisy says. When the individual is focused on just one thing, he may not see that there are more choices beyond the thing he is fixated on. “I show them and help them understand they can do it in many different ways and still come out with the same outcome,” she says.

For caregivers, it’s all in a day’s work.

 

Learn more:

Tips for caregivers of disabled people
Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself
7 Tips for avoiding caregiver burnout that really work

Creative Problem-Solving is a Daily Challenge for Caregivers

A caregiver’s job at Casmir Care Services involves creative problem-solving.

Being responsible for individuals with intellectual disabilities often may involve being attentive to certain behaviors or defusing situations before they escalate.

One individual in the residential community likes collecting bags. Not just any plastic store bag, but the complimentary bags that are fancier than normal. Every time she goes somewhere, she’ll collect more bags and bring them home.

The downside, said Daisy Williams, a direct care professional with Casmir Care’s Residential Homes, is that individual has hoarding tendencies. So there’s a fine line between recognizing what brings a person joy and trying to keep a living space uncluttered.

That means she can shop as much as she wants. The individual’s love of shopping presents Daisy with an opportunity to help teach her how to keep her living space clean. Daisy cannot limit the number of bags the individual can get from the shop, but she can teach her about the need to keep her living space free from clutter and hygienic. But the individual didn’t want to do her own decluttering.

 

Overcoming Resistance

To avoid conflict over the need to toss bags out, Daisy sought to avoid confrontation that could create stress. Instead she takes a rather creative approach to manage the clutter. She will sometimes rearrange the resident’s bedroom while she’s away. That way, when the individual comes back, she can enjoy a neat room.

But before Daisy makes any changes to a room, she makes sure the individual has control over what happens by making a light suggestion like: “I think it’s a good time to look around your room and see what direction we want to put the bed in.” Then the individual will say, “Alright Daisy, you do it while I’m in school.”

As it turns out, the individual always gets excited in a good way when her room gets changed. And asking her whether she wants her room rearranged gives her control in the matter. Her opinion counts.

In any given day, direct care professionals need to solve problems and call upon their creativity as they work with the program’s individuals to create win-win situations, using empathy and compassion to work around each individual’s needs.

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Phone: 267-292-3116
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Our goal is to ensure peace of mind for families and loved ones who are faced with the challenges of placing relatives in nursing homes and other treatment facilities. We offer a wide array of non-medical services tailored to the unique needs of the individuals we care for.