For some people, being present means just showing up. They don’t consider that they can contribute more than just being there physically. For others, being present means being fully there, giving of themselves. Healthline has defined being present as “being focused and engaged in the here and now, not distracted or mentally absent.” The best caregiver mirror this definition.
If you’ve ever been caught daydreaming, you know what it’s like not to be present. Something as simple as looking out the window on a spring day at the green grass and blossoming flowers can easily take your mind away from the present moment with your client to another, more tranquil, place.
What Keeps a Caregiver From Being Present?
It’s easy to get distracted in today’s fast-paced world; many things clamor for our attention. Here are some things that can distract caregivers and cause them to be mentally absent:
Have you ever looked around a restaurant you’re dining at and noticed all of the people, young and old, that are engrossed in their phones? Most of them are on social media telling people they’re at the restaurant or finding out what their connections are doing. At that moment, they’re unaware of what the other people at their table are doing or saying. Smartphones can serve many practical purposes for us, but they can also be the biggest distraction one can face.
As a caregiver, you often care for sedentary individuals prone to spending long periods of time in front of the television. That means that you’re also experiencing what’s happening on the screen. Daytime soaps, the news, the weather, and countless channels can easily cause you to lose your focus on the present moment and take you far away mentally. You can be sitting with a client in the U.S. one moment and be experiencing an erupting volcano on the Island of St. Vincent the next.
“Did I turn off the stove before I left the house this morning?” “I wonder how Bobby’s exam is going.” “What time does the concert start tonight?” Questions we silently ask ourselves and racing thoughts can easily take you away from the present moment. One study found that the average person has more than 6,000 thoughts every day. When their clients are resting quietly or sleeping, a caregiver can drift someplace else in their thoughts. We all do it.
How Can You Stay In The Present Moment With Your Client?
Not everyone can stay fully present 100% of the time. Still, professional caregivers can take steps to stay present, and many do, to be physically, mentally, and emotionally there for their clients. Here are a few:
Engage Verbally and Listen Actively
When you’re with a client 8-24 hours per day, it’s easy to slip into periods of extended silence where the mind can drift away. A caregiver can’t, and shouldn’t, talk non-stop with a client, but they can stay connected and be present by having regular conversations with their client – whether it be something stimulating like world events or something simple like listening to a story about a special event in their client’s life.
Don’t Worry – Be Happy
If you’re worrying too much about tomorrow, you can’t fully appreciate today. Tomorrow will happen no matter how much you do or don’t worry, and worrying won’t do anything but take you away from your client. We have to contemplate and be prepared for the future, but worrying about it won’t help you or your client enjoy the day.
Focus On Your Client
Easier said than done, but you can do it. Put away your smartphone or leave it on vibrate so you don’t miss an important call, but stay off social media while you’re with your client. You can also leave the television off more often and have fun engaging with your client by playing a game together or looking at old photographs and listening to their stories.
Senior1Care of South Bend can help you be the best caregiver you can be. We’ve been providing the highest quality personal care and support in Granger, Osceola, Mishawaka, and the greater South Bend area. Moreover, we’ve hired and trained many caregivers that have enjoyed long, successful careers with us.
Whether you’re currently a caregiver or feel the calling to become one, we can help you reach your personal and professional goals. Learn more about the exciting career opportunities we have available throughout Granger, Osceola, Mishawaka, and the greater South Bend area.