A Caregiver’s Voice
This poem reflects so many thoughts and memories each time I read it. My Dad suffered from dementia
in his later years in life, and although there are similar symptoms many people with this disease suffer
from, it was I who identified what he was really trying to say. When we really listen to what is being said,
or not said, we learn to communicate in different ways. It’s the circle of life we witness even as a
newborn sees the world around them to our elderly family and friends.
Our Caregiver’s are trained in dementia care and have the challenge in communicating with our clients
every day. It is their patience and expertise that enable them to understand the needs that are being
asked or being ignored. These are our Healthcare Heroes, our caregivers, that give back their care and
compassion to those that really need our help, to peacefully rest in their own homes.
A Caregiver’s Voice
When I wander, don’t tell me to come and sit down.
Wander with me.
It may be because I’m hungry, thirsty, or need the toilet.
Or maybe because I just need to stretch my legs.
When I call my mother
(Even though I’m ninety!)
Don’t tell me she has died.
Reassure me, cuddle me, ask about her.
It may be that I’m looking for security that my mother gave me.
When I shout out
Please don’t tell me to be quite … or walk by.
I’m trying to tell you something,
But I have difficultly telling you what.
Be patient. Try to find out.
I may be in pain.
When I become agitated or appear angry,
please don’t reach for the drugs first.
I’m trying to tell you something.
It may be too hot, too bright, too noisy.
Or maybe because I miss my loved ones.
Try to find out first.
When I don’t eat my dinner or drink my tea,
It may be because I’ve forgotten how to.
Show me what to do. Remind me.
It may be I just need to hold my knife and fork,
I may know what to do then.
When I push you away
when you’re trying to help me wash or get dressed,
maybe it’s because I have forgotten what you said.
Keep telling me what you are doing,
over and over and over.
Maybe others will think
you’re the one that needs help.
With all my thoughts and maybes,
Perhaps it will be you who reaches my thoughts,
Understands my fears,
And will make me feel safe.
Maybe it will be you I need to thank.
If I only knew how.
Source: Caregiver’s Voice