Caregiving Is about Holding Space for People
The best thing to understand about caregiving is that it is a service. This is why many caregivers refer to their role as a calling or a vocation. Caregiving isn’t about taking control or managing people’s lives — it’s about holding space and being supportive so that people can remain as independent as possible, even in the presence of old age, injury, illness, or disabilities.
In-home care is a form of caregiving that allows a person in need to receive care within the comfort of their own home. Being surrounded by familiar and treasured memories fuels well-being. Companionship, housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care, medication reminders, errands, and respite are just a few of the ways caregivers can help people remain independent in their own homes.
Empathy and compassion are key components to providing high quality caregiving services. When these things are present, spaces are created where individuals are safe to be vulnerable. When caregivers hold space for the individuals in their care, it also allows people to be their authentic selves and maintain their sense of identity.
How Caregivers Hold Space for People
There are many ways to hold space for people. When it comes to caregiving, holding space is always within the context of vulnerability — people receiving care may be experiencing trauma or have a debilitating illness such as dementia. Caregivers at Alegre Home Care receive specialized training to be aware of this context and to learn what strategies work best for helping people within their care.
Remaining patient. It can be easy to get caught up in tasks or to-do lists, but oftentimes tasks will have to wait if an individual is needing extra care. For example, a person with dementia may suddenly become frustrated. Patience will create space for a person to communicate what they need and for caregivers to fully understand how to provide solutions.
Asking questions. We may think we understand a situation, but all people can miss details from time to time. When appropriate, it helps to ask questions to make sure we are understanding the full picture.
Creating a safe environment. Caregivers act as a second set of eyes for the people in their care. Caregivers can literally create a safe space by making sure there are no physical hazards in a person’s environment, such as a loose rug or object that might be in the way.
Knowing someone’s likes and dislikes. This is especially important for people receiving dementia care. Different things can trigger different people, and caregivers can help prevent symptoms from flaring by minimizing those triggers. For example, if a person is fearful of loud noises, a caregiver knows to offer extra support on holidays that have fireworks, like the Fourth of July.
Having a listening ear. Sometimes, a person doesn’t want solutions but simply someone who will listen. Offering to hear a person’s story is often all that is needed when someone is having a bad day. Talking also helps people process things, and having a space to “get it all out” can be very therapeutic.
Not forcing a solution. When someone is in pain, of course we want to fix it for them. However, caregivers know that not all things can be fixed. There are times when holding someone’s hand is all you can do. It is important to be aware of this, because you don’t want to be so wrapped up in problem solving that the person doesn’t have a hand to hold.
Having discernment. Similar to the example above, knowing when to take action and when to simply be present is an important part of being a caregiver. The caregivers at Alegre Home Care receive continual training that enables them to discern the best course of action in a variety of situations.
Using positive reinforcement. Encouragement, empathy, and understanding are what people need when they are the most vulnerable. Using positive reinforcement instead of negativity is always what is best for a person receiving care.
Allowing people to be themselves. Ensuring people receive care within an inclusive and non-discriminatory environment is a hallmark of quality in-home care services. Being non-judgmental and accepting people for who they are will give people the space to process things without feeling shamed.
Quality In-Home Care Services
With personalized care plans, Alegre Home Care provides individuals with the ability to age or recover from the comfort of their own home. Our caregivers in San Francisco and the surrounding areas receive the best training and attend to each person with compassion, empathy, and respect.
If you or a loved one is in need of care, please contact Alegre Home Care at one of our Northern California locations.