ONE NINE: CAREGIVER TIME – THE POWER OF TIME
Mary Gilliam, MBA, LNHA, Certified Dementia Practitioner
The dawn of a new year is a good time for us to reflect on something extremely important. Time – or in our case caregiver time. This upcoming year has the same maximum amount of time for each one of us. The same 24 hours in each day. The same 7 days each week. The same 12 months in the year. We each get to decide how we will use our time and when the day is over, the time we had is forever gone. The decisions on how we prioritize this time determine many things such as how we will perform at work and how our personal relationship will develop. Time is the most valuable resource we have.
It seems like many people live life with the attitude that the busier one’s schedule is, the more significant their life. The ability to multi-task has become glorified to the point that focusing on one task at a time can be misinterpreted as laziness or unproductive. As a culture, caregiving is a great opportunity to reconsider the way we place value on what we spend our time doing, in making choices and setting our priorities.
Cheryl Beaver, Director of Community Relations at Monarch Senior Solutions, recently spoke on the power of time. She highlighted a plaque she had given her daughter hanging prominently in her room stating; “do something that fuels your soul.”
For millions of Americans, caregiving is what fuels a passion of purpose, empathy and love. These moments of joy can come in the simplest of caregiving tasks. Cheryl told a story of a recent client she had gone to visit late morning during her off time. Upon entering the room, Cheryl noticed the client was still in bed, wet and weak. She immediately helped her to a sitting position, gave her a bear hug to help stand her up when all the sudden the client started passing a large amount of gas.
“Did you hear that?” said the client and she was cradled between the arms of Cheryl.
“No, no, didn’t hear a thing,” responded Cheryl allowing her to maintain her dignity during this transfer. A moment passed as they slowly transferred to the wheelchair.
Her client looked up, caught Cheryl’s eye and said, “Well, I hope your sense of smell is as bad as your hearing.”
The two of them burst out in a belly laugh and a normal caregiving moment was instantly turned into a lifelong memory.
Time well spent and inspiration looks different to different people. For Cheryl, that moment where she allowed herself to slow down and make the client in front of her the most important person in the world. Cheryl said that “E-Mails, phone calls, meetings, life stops in that moment for a short period of time to serve the person in front of me.” That is the time that it well spent. It is not scrolling through FaceBook, rather it is laughing with the person in front of you. It is these moments, transferring a sweet, wet, thankful client to a chair and laughing until your stomach hurts over flatulence, these are the moments that matter. These are the moments that allow us to create hope, be a blessing, be an inspiration and share our love wherever we go.
Mary Gilliam’s passion for serving seniors has become a lifelong mission. She is the founder of Monarch Senior Solutions and responsible for leading the in-home care partners and senior advisors.
Mary holds a Master’s Degree of Business Administration with an emphasis on Health Care Administration and is a multi-state Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. She has been in long term care operations since 2002 serving those in assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.