April's Care Coach Q+A
Every month, the care coach will answer any questions you might have about caregiving. Please send any questions you want answered to firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you cheer up or comfort someone you are a caregiver to when they are having a challenging day?
I wish there were a simple answer to such an important question. It would be too trite to recommend music, food, distractions, a good night’s sleep, or a walk. All are good things to do throughout a day or a week to change moods and the feelings of doing the same daily rituals. However, I would also recommend it is best to get to the heart of the rough day or moment by asking more questions when appropriate. We are caregiving for many that could be feeling a lack of control, fear, or anxiety about something they can’t yet or aren’t willing to verbalize. It can be a cumulative feeling that shifts a mood, response, or reaction to a situation. We shouldn’t glaze over powerful emotions.
Most importantly, I believe in just being there, being willing to listen, and reassuring them that you are trying to understand. Try to get to the center of the sadness... Is it truly a day and moment or does the challenging day shift into a challenging week or month? If so, please rely on your caregiving team. Call upon the doctors, nurses, and social workers that are there to help and ask for recommendations, suggestions, and, if possible, to speak directly to your loved one. Lean on experts if necessary, and always remember validating someone’s feelings can be powerful.