Yesterday I drove my mother to her church for Sunday morning service. Knowing from before that she has trouble getting on the sidewalk, I drove to the corner, where the walk is very low, for the disabled and those in wheelchairs to go on. To get in the church is a ramp, but that is half way down the block. Remembering what happened in the past, and also what happened earlier that morning (trying to get her out of a chair, and viewing her legs were weak), these were the reasons why I drove her to the corner. She was not happy with that, so I drove around to the spot she wanted to get out of, and while it took a while for her to get her foot up on the sidewalk, with some help, she began to walk, and got to the ramp and into the church building.
It wasn’t until today I found out she was angry about that to the point she could not really enjoy the church service. As for me, I did not notice there was a problem, so for me I went on my merry way after she got on the sidewalk, to go to my church for service. Today’s conversation started with my mother giving me a compliment: she said she could learn from me as I don’t hold a grudge, and if I do, I don’t hold it for long. Not knowing what she was talking about, she continued to tell me her perspective on what happened yesterday morning; I told her I had no clue she was even upset with what I did, and I explained my side of the story: of why I drove to the corner thinking I was doing what was in her best interest. After much talking, she admitted now that she knew my perspective, she even more realized that holding a grudge was a dumb thing to do on her part.
After all of that, it was agreed I would let her out on the corner when taking her to church. Once perspective is known, it is quite interesting how far apart two perspective can be.
I learned something too that perhaps can be a help to caregivers:
- when deciding on what needs to be done regarding your loved one, make sure they understand why you are doing what you are doing. They may have one way of doing something, and if you don’t explain (preferably before doing it) why that decision was made, they will not understand. Though I tried to explain, I suppose it was too late, and result was a little tiff between us; one was angry about it, and the other let it go, thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal.
- Giving explanations beforehand (and particularly with someone who has very little short-term memory) may be a help that will keep those disagreements to a minimum. Give your perspective.
Perspective is important for both the caregiver and the one being cared for, as communication is key; at least try to keep frustration down as much as possible on both sides of the spectrum…