Judson Haims: Tending to the flowers while getting into the weeds of home caregivers
Special to The Aspen Times
Sometimes as we develop long-term goals, we get lost in the details and lose sight of the endgame. Sometimes we need to be reminded that while the devil is in the details, the greater picture needs to remain the clear objective. Further, once the goal(s) is achieved, it’s important we stop and appreciate the process that led to success.
For me, this was made apparent this past weekend. I owe thanks to two of our clients’ families who reminded me that I need to stop and smell the flowers and not get lost in tending to the weeds.
This past weekend, I visited a couple clients and their families to record a short video. One of our caregivers has been nominated for the Visiting Angels caregiver of the year award and I needed to get a video recording of them explaining to our corporate office why this caregiver is so special and how they have gone up and beyond to make a profound difference to quality of lives for the clients they have cared for.
This is a big deal. There are probably over 30,000 Visiting Angels’ caregivers across the country and our small office, in a small, mountain community, we may have the diamond in the rough.
In effort to best convey to corporate the exceptionality of the caregiver and what makes the person stand out above all others, I spent considerable amount of time planning the video shoot and developing a list of questions to ask the clients and their families. While I thought I had been fairly thorough, something wasn’t feeling right.
When I pulled up to the first client’s home, I felt a bit nervous. Not nervous out of concern for the process of what I needed to do: I knew exactly what needed doing. Quite simply, all I had to do was set up the camera to make sure it was recording, ensure the audio was clear, and ask some questions. Pretty straightforward stuff. What made me feel uneasy was that there was a lot at stake and that I had little control of the outcome — or did I?
When I finished the recordings of the second interview, I had a strange feeling that something was not complete. Not so much in that the process was incomplete, but that something more, something bigger was missing. Along the ride home, it came to me.
I had an important story to share. Not just a story of how one caregiver has made a difference and stood out, but also about how this caregiver can help other caregivers and family members grow, blossom and become better caregivers.
This past year has been challenging. Developing policies and systems to keep caregivers and clients safe and healthy has caused me to get myopic in focus and of my managing the direction of Visiting Angels. I realized that I have become too immersed in tending the weeds that I have lost focus on the flowers and the flower beds.
After hearing from our clients and their families such fantastic things about our caregiver this weekend, I realized I needed once again to focus on fostering and developing other caregivers who can emulate this exceptional caregiver.
As spring nears, perhaps it is time to develop a fresh and new view and embrace the renewing of a season and brighter days. Let’s focus on the continued health and safety of our community, family and loved ones. Although it is important that we not ignore nor normalize all that has occurred and been learned over this past year, it is also important that we build on these experiences and develop systems in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.
If you have been helping a loved one and are looking for some new ideas to brighten their days, here are some suggestions from our prospective award-winning caregiver:
• Pull out old photos and share in the memories. Then, ask about what memories or activities were most memorable. This learning process will not only be bonding but may also provide insight of latent passions and interest that can be renewed.
• Go on a scenic drive or visit a favorite place not frequented in a long time.
• Visit a favorite restaurant, ice cream shop, bookstore, or other place once of interest.
If your’re new to caregiving or know you soon may be needed to assist a loved one who has been sheltering during the pandemic, consider the above suggestions. But, above all else, embrace the fact that caring for another person provides a great sense of purpose and connects you to others in a very special way.
Effective caregivers are compassionate, willing to listen, insightful and organized. While it is possible to get lost in the weeds while advocating and caring for someone, you’ll be successful if you discover the values and passions you share. If you find the task of caregiving is not what you thought, help is available. There are others, like our prospective award winner, who thrive on the opportunity.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.