It can be often overlooked in the midst of tasks, appointments and to-do lists. The house needs to be cleaned, meals need to be prepared, appointments need to be kept, and prescriptions need to be filled. Companionship during a visit to an elderly family member is not on the schedule.
The dishes need to be washed; there isn’t time to linger over a meal. The floor needs to be swept; there isn’t time to sit and hear a story. The medication needs to be refilled; there isn’t time for a stroll down the street. Life is full and time passes quickly; there isn’t time for companionship.
The truth is, caring for your loved one is not the only responsibility you have. You have your own appointments, your own responsibilities, and your own to-do lists that are already being pushed to the side.
What if priorities changed? What if the to-do list wasn’t the main purpose of a visit? What if conversation and connection became a priority?
3 Simple Ways to Work in Companionship
I’ve had the privilege of sitting with elderly people and their family as we’ve talked about care options. We discuss the to-do lists, but the services we offer don’t stop at meal preparation, housekeeping and appointment keeping. In fact, while we do provide those services, what we believe in most is companionship.
Memories are created not from completing the to-do list, but from nurturing relationships. Actually, the best memories happen when the to-do list is thrown out and room is created for connection.
Here are some practical ways you can offer connection and companionship to your loved one:
- Schedule a coffee date. When you have to make a trip to the pharmacy to refill medication, stop at a local coffee shop for a date.
- Share a meal. Instead of preparing a meal and cleaning while your loved one eats, make enough for two.
- Swap stories. A key to true companionship is mutuality. Keep your loved one informed on the details of you and your family’s life.
What are some of the ways you connect and care for your loved one?
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