Rehabilitation is a personal matter, and every patient has different needs and challenges to overcome throughout the process.
In my experience, it is often a fall or an accident that can send our clients spiralling into a deep depression and starting to lose the will to live. Grieving the loss of ‘what was’ is normal and being fearful of what is to come is unavoidable but with the ‘right’ carer who has the ability to embrace the present – life becomes a little lighter…
Rehab of the mind – that’s a tricky one. While we carers don’t profess to be counsellors, therapists, or psychologists we do possess a quality that places us in a very good position to be there emotionally for our clients.
We all have mental health issues in one form or another as we have all been raised in families where our parents have been unconscious to some extent and because of that, we believed we had to be a certain way to get love, validation and worth. Sometimes old age and the looming fragility of our experience can be seen as a failure.
This is mostly because we equate happiness with the outcome of events not the process and we see the end result of an event as the measure of happiness. This conditional nature of our relationship with life is the reason we are unable to tap into the internal bliss that is always available to us and within our control
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. ― Marcus Aurelius
The liberation of the mind is paramount to healing but because the mind is conditioned by childhood experiences we cannot possibly know the intensity of that hold, how far the soul has drifted ashore and how much of the connection has been lost.
Validation is our superpower and conversations that are authentic and honest but equally uplifting and positive can help our clients to integrate their feelings that are often disguised to protect the ones they love and relieve their emotional burden.
So rehab of the body is straightforward – after experiencing an illness, injury or surgery we all need time to recover. Older adults need to regain strength and confidence in a supportive healing environment. As a caregiver, it’s important to understand that the process of recovery is not always easy. It takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to stick to a therapy routine and most of the time this is met with resistance and frustration.
But keep in mind that rehab doesn’t just refer to exercises it refers to basic movement – combing one’s hair, brushing one’s teeth, reaching for shoes etc – these non-structured activities are incredibly important to maintain a sense of independent living by focusing on what is in their control, after all, our state of being is dependent on the variables of life which as we know are unpredictable and at times beyond our control!
Motivation is at an all-time low and collaborating with your client regards realistic and attainable goals will help set them up for success. Incremental improvements need to be acknowledged and small wins need to be celebrated. Attaching a pleasant experience to a challenging one also goes a long way to alleviating the tension that can so easily escalate when our enthusiasm is seen to be pushy!
Rehab of the soul – well that’s an evolutionary experience – life doesn’t happen to me it happens through me and finding the hidden gem is a skill that only a conscious carer has the ability to gently introduce without imposing their own spiritual beliefs. Levels of support are more subtle and the client takes the lead on this one. The carer, on the other hand, checks to see if the client is sharing something, and validating their emotion provides a safe space for the client to ask for and be more open to receiving advice or guidance.
When life isn’t working out we may feel too paralyzed to recreate ourselves. Only when we separate the internal from the external do we realise who we are eternally, can we continue to adjust and in fact flourish despite our external circumstances.
The goal is not to ‘fix’ the painful situation but rather to deeply engage in it
When we arrive at this realization our inner being looks at life’s challenges with vigour instead of victimhood, valour instead of fear. the challenge is to see the pain and pleasure of life as equal in terms of the opportunity they present us