Caregivers, appreciate yourselves

When you work in long-term care, it’s so easy to get caught up in the job responsibilities, the regulations, the policies, procedures, and expectations and to forget what is important. We forget the impact we have in the lives of those we serve. We forget how much joy, peace and security we bring to them. Something as simple as a touch or a smile can mean so much more to those we care for.

I challenge you to stop each day, and take time to acknowledge the positive changes you are making.

  • When you are frustrated by trying to make sure you’re following every regulation and policy, remember the resident who said, “You’re worth your weight in gold.”
  • When you feel like you are at the end of your rope and can’t complete another task, remember the resident who said, “Thank you.”
  • When you feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get it all done, remember the look on the resident’s face as they experienced the solar eclipse with your help.
  • When you think you can’t go through yet another survey, remember the resident who said, “This is my home, and you couldn’t pay me to leave.”
  • When you’re working at home or overtime and feel like you’re neglecting your own family, remember you are doing it for your extended family, as well as the one who says, “Have I told you lately that I love you?”
  • When you feel like all you do is give, know that one day, someone will be there to do the same for you.

Most of us spend a large part of our time with those we serve. We become their family and they ours. We laugh with them, celebrate with them, cry with them and we grieve their loss, all the while continuing to do our jobs because we still have others depending on us to be there for them. Our responsibilities never end, because we always care.

To say we have a stressful job is an understatement. But through all the challenges and the negatives thrown at us, we must remember the bigger picture. While many of those we serve cannot express their gratitude for our being there, I feel sure if they could, they would. I know this because if I were in their shoes, I would be grateful for the people who keep me clean and dry, the people who prepare my food, the people who keep my room clean, the people who keep me active and give me a purpose, the people who communicate with my family and the people who keep the home in which I now reside running smoothly.

So, I challenge you, when the going gets tough, remember why you do what you do. You have a bigger purpose than to just “do the job or meet the regulation.” It’s an old cliché, but you do make a difference.

Debbie Bouknight, BS, AC-BC, ACC, CDP, is Director of Outreach and Re-certification for the National Association of Activity Professionals Credentialing Center (NAAPCC). She has served as Director of Life Enrichment at Lexington Medical Center Extended Care, a 388-bed skilled care community, for 33 years. She also serves on the South Carolina Activity Professionals Association Board as Professional Development Chair and has served on the National Association of Activity Professionals Board in the past.



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