Caring for the elderly can be a challenging and rewarding task, and incorporating both spiritual and stoic principles can help to make the experience more fulfilling for both the caregiver and the elderly client.
For those unfamiliar with stoicism, it is a philosophy that emphasizes the acceptance of the present moment and the understanding that we have little control over external events. Instead, we are encouraged to focus on what we can control, which is our own thoughts, emotions, and actions.
Ultimately with practice and dedication, Stoicism can make the whole situation more bearable and help cultivate equanimity and compassion. In the care industry, this means spending time understanding the nature of the client’s condition so that you share a basic understanding of what is happening and potentially stay on top of useful new developments.
It is easy to overestimate how much time we have left with our loved ones and it is tempting to encourage unfounded hope that they are going to get better, but the reality of the situation is that their condition is inevitably degenerative and sometimes they need a source of support that can meet them where they are at.
As carers, learning to filter the outside world through the straightener of our judgement and sharing this skill with our clients, can bring order, clarity and stability.
Some things are up to us, while others are not. Up to us are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not up to us are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing. (Enchiridion 1.1)’
However, Stoic principles are quite different from standard societal ones and it is important to be aware that not everyone will be in alignment with your values and you truly have to feel the water before taking the plunge…
Incorporating spiritual principles into our caregiving practices can help to deepen the sense of meaning and purpose that we derive from our work. We need to recognize that our elderly clients are likely experiencing a range of emotions and challenges that can be difficult to navigate.
Listening without judgement can help to alleviate anxiety and offer a safe space to communicate and connect with honesty.
But the benefits of incorporating both spiritual and stoic principles into our caregiving practices go beyond just being a better caregiver. There is every opportunity to practice the principles on a daily basis both in our personal capacity and in the company of our clients.
Once we understand that most things we are anxious about, that we dread or catastrophize in our head never actually end up happening, we can avoid ‘borrowing’ suffering from the future and instead focus on where we are at right now.
Being prepared, adaptable and ready in the present moment can offer some kind of relief to a sensitive situation and there is great comfort in the knowledge and understanding that…
We suffer more in imagination than in reality – Seneca
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your caregiving skills and bring more fulfilment to your work. Contact me now to schedule a discovery call.