Rudy’s 4th birthday just passed and it was a day to be celebrated. Rudy is kind, friendly, joyful, affectionate and just happy to be here. Rudy is a cute, adorable Shihpoo. He’s my dog and my best friend. Life is many things both amazing and sometimes difficult. With the help of Rudy and years of experience I’ve learned 3 principles that make my life more amazing and a less difficult.
1. Commitment. Rudy is totally committed to me. He follows me around everywhere; and I mean everywhere! It’s hilarious to watch – He can’t get enough of me and how do you suppose that makes me feel? Wonderful!! Everyone wants to feel loved! I want to give him even more love than he’s giving me because his commitment to me inspires my commitment in return.
2. Communication. Words don’t mean much to Rudy or me. It’s more about actions. A hug, a walk, playing together, and taking naps together (that’s the best!) Through these actions Rudy and I communicate clearly how much we care about each other. If he spoke better English, I’m sure we’d communicate more that way as well but with actions, there isn’t as much room for misinterpretation. Like my wife has said many times, “communication is key”.
3. Companionship. As far as Rudy goes, this one is probably the easiest to understand. He’s there for me all the time. He lifts my spirits and reduces stress. We humans are a social species and companionship can be essential! We are not meant to be isolated and alone. We need each other. We crave companionship!
When being a family caregiver for a loved one, these same 3 principles can be applied, especially when it comes to family. Perhaps your parents are still young, healthy and vibrant, maybe, sadly, they’ve already passed away, or you could have parents whose health is failing and you’re navigating how best to care for them while still raising your children, working at your career and still have some semblance of a life.
When it comes to our loved ones, we have commitment. For those who gave us life; raised us; healed our broken bones and broken hearts; and taught us about life, we’d do anything for them. We are committed!
Communication, however, can be a little more challenging. We can be stressed in these emotionally difficult times caring for a loved one. Our patience may be shorter and often times so are our words. Communication is key. We should communicate clearly and patiently with them and it’s important we find someone other than that loved one to talk with to communicate what we’re going through. Communication is also key for any family caregivers other than yourself. None of us are perfect and we all can make mistakes. Talk about it, let it go and move on. Good communication affords you that luxury.
Companionship. It’s obvious to see the value of companionship when it comes to our canine friends and it can be just as evident with our senior loved ones. I was 8 years old when one day I naively asked my Granny Paul “How you doing Granny?” I was mistaken to believe a short question would evoke an equally short answer. Granny started by sharing some minor ailments which then led to her recent doctor’s visit and how the Dr. was related to a friend of hers and then finally about 10 minutes later, how I was growing up so fast. I realized she just wanted to spend time with someone. She sought companionship. We can give our senior loved ones the most amazing gift available – the gift of time and companionship. Our days are hurried and busy and we THINK we just don’t have that extra valuable time to give.
But if we only stop a moment to remember what it meant to us as a child for Mom or Dad to spend time with us. That’s all we wanted then- “Dad come play with me” and that’s all our senior loved one wants now. Companionship can have a power like no other and it’s a power we have to give. So go share the gift of companionship with someone you love. And if you’re feeling stressed, it’s okay to enjoy companionship too. There’s always Rudy.
The articles posted on this blog are provided for general information and discussion purposes only. These articles are not intended to suggest anything with respect to the operations or services of this office.
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