Ending Helplessness One Story At A Time
It seems like there are many stories that are coming into my life lately that centered around eliminating the plague of helplessness.
This is a wonderful change. It is easy for many of us to understand the concepts and feelings behind boredom and loneliness. We are more challenged to eliminate or even understand helplessness in our own lives and in the lives of people living with dementia.
Our definition of helplessness as the pain we feel when we only receive care and never have the opportunity to give care focuses primarily on the elder. But the Eden Alternative also recognizes the pain employee care partners often experience from providing care and receiving none in return. This is just as painful.
Stories for eliminating helplessness for both the Elder and the employee care partners are relatively rare because our society still struggles to acknowledge that people living with dementia help us to grow and continue to grow themselves.
But that makes eliminating this plagues from people’s lives all the more rewarding. I would like to share a few cases of helpfulness done right.
A story from Claudia Osmond (pictured above):
The staff member would not ever have been able to or allowed to have a moment like this with her elder in the old system. She got out the supplies and in the end the elder, who lives with dementia and loneliness, turned the tables and taught her how to paint.
The picture doesn’t do it justice, but we were all so touched.
And another wonderful defeat of helplessness from Cottage Grove:
Diane is determined to live a purpose-driven life despite the challenges of her dementia. She knows that she wants to continue make a difference in the lives of others.
Diane is not alone. Her housemates in Mary’s House at Cottage Grove share this need for purpose. They discovered that purpose in a sewing circle. Led by their sew-master, Katherine . . . the elders make bright and cheery pillow cases for children hospitalized with cancer.
While the Elders work together to make a difference, there are many stories shared and many hearts inspired. Our Elders find fulfillment from giving to others and find joy from living a purpose driven life.