A collection of “watch as I do” prompts for your caregiving routine
This week, Eliza shares the beautiful ways she and her family engage their beloved AJ in daily tasks—everything from coloring pages to paying bills.
Encourage participation by example.
If your loved one does not engage with creative activities like coloring pages, try doing the activity yourself in front of them. (There may be many reasons they don’t engage: for my grandmom, it’s a combination of arthritic hands and lack of interest.)
My grandmom loves bold colors, beautiful things, and when we interact with her. She just doesn’t like coloring on her own.
But a few weeks ago, when my mom and I sat and colored in front of AJ — occasionally having her pick the next color, holding it up every so often so she could get a different perspective, guiding her hand to feel the waxy texture — she was engaged, interested, and excited!
What’s something your caree doesn’t seem interested in when it’s presented, but still feels like something they’d really like? Perhaps try doing that activity in front of them as entertainment instead of a hands-on activity!
Encourage participation by inclusion.
Try to think of small ways that your caree can still have a hand in their responsibilities.
In this picture, my mom was having AJ put the postage stamps on her outgoing bills.
AJ can no longer sit down and pay her bills, and even signing her name is a lengthy struggle these days. But with a bit of guidance, she can still put the stamps onto the mail that leaves the house.
As my grandmom did this, I noticed how my mom used language that included AJ in the task: “We’ve all gotta pay our bills, right?”
Using language like this allows AJ to hold onto some ownership of her responsibilities, and her sense of independence, and of being an adult & a homeowner. This in turn encourages her to hold onto her personhood, sense of self-worth, and pride.
Encourage participation by invitation.
Bring the outside in as the seasons change to keep your loved ones connected to the cyclical nature of the year.
As the flowers bloom and spring arrives, AJ loves to watch buds bloom, smell the flowers, enjoy the bold colors, feel the petals and the leaves.
Since she can no longer get outside, this is a way we have found to allow her to still enjoy nature in a way that works for her. And we invite her participation by bringing nature to her!
As summer comes, we might bring in wildflowers from roadside stands or a tomato from the garden still warm from the sun. Once autumn arrives, we’ll bring pumpkins, gourds, or a pretty leaf that we find. And this past winter, my mom brought in a bucket of snow for my grandmom to enjoy!
I feel strongly that experiencing the different seasons is important for the soul to process change, and I believe it’s healing for my grandmother to be connected to what’s going on outside the four walls of her bedroom.
Watch these beautiful reflections on love—even through caregiving—by team member Alanna Woody.