Once a teacher, always a teacher! She's 90, but here are 4 new caregiving lesson Mom taught me. They apply to caring for elderly parents and kids with special needs.

The caregiving lessons Mom taught me came thick and fast during my childhood. Every day, as she cared for my dad, her example provided lessons – some good and some not so much – to last a lifetime.

Or so I thought.

Nowadays, Mom lives in a memory care unit. She’s been there 4 years.

“How are you?” I ask at the beginning of my visits.

“Lonely,” has been her consistent reply for the past few months.

No matter how often my siblings and I visit her, take her on outings, or call, her response remains the same.

“I’m lonely,” she says.

Her perceived reality breaks our hearts. In our search for ways to relieve her loneliness, I learned 4 strategies to add to the lifetime of caregiving lessons Mom taught me as a child. Their effectiveness makes me want to go back to my days as mom to a child with special needs and give them a try with him, too. Since that’s not going to happen until somebody works the kinks out of time travel, I’ll pass the caregiving lessons Mom taught me on to you.

Lesson #1: Preserve your loved one’s dignity.

This lesson is paramount whether the person in your care is 9 months old or 90 years old. Our loved ones hear and remember, in one way or another, what we say about them. Our words affect their how they view themselves. Therefore, we have to find ways to preserve their dignity while communicating our observations and worries with the professionals – in home care workers, residential care providers, doctors, teachers, therapists, and others.

To read the rest of this post visit the blog for special needs parents at Key Ministry.

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