A Narrowing World
In a moment of insight, I noted to someone that the worst thing about growing old was that friends fall by the wayside and our world becomes smaller.
This is one of the saddest things that a caregiver has to deal with. We take those in our care to funerals and memorial services. We help with the tears and listen to the reminisces of the past, to memories of a shared life that can be no more.
Grief counseling is essential to the services we perform. Yet, this is not the worst death in this world. The worst is when the client is unaware of death.
Some in our care will say they are expecting a visit from their sister who they cannot recall has passed on. This is not uncommon in our dementia patients. Dealing with it takes special techniques.
When the person is told that their sister has died, the response can be renewed grief or disbelief. The disbelief can result in anger that can become physically expressed.
It is sometimes easiest to lie. “Emily phoned and she can’t make it. She has an appointment with her hairdresser.” The lies need to be simple and defensible. We didn’t know Emily and to say she is taking her dog to the vet, can be met with the fact that she couldn’t stand dogs.
It is tragic to watch a person’s world contract either through health or loss. One of the roles, in all the services we provide, but particularly companion care is to try and fill the space that is left.
Two words companion and care when put together take on so much meaning for the bereaved. Companion – someone to be with, to share your space and time and overcome the burden of loss and loneliness. Care – to know that someone has your concerns and hurts in their heart. Together, companion care – a friend to be with you and to make sure that there is still somebody in the client’s world so the loneliness can be overcome with care, compassion, and in time laughter once more.
This is our heart. Not just to care for, but to care about.