The first live-in community I worked for was in Colorado. The director said in one of her many enriching trainings, “If you can answer the same question 18 times, and on the 19th time, get a little weary, this is the work for you.” Yes, I said, I can do that!
What this can mean is:
1) Caregivers are good at answering the same question for a person often, with patience and compassion.
2) Caregivers are creative at coming up with true, different answers every time they answer a question. (It’s 5pm/It’s almost time for supper. I’m going there right now, would you like to walk with me?/It’s evening now, are you ready for a good meal?/My mom always called out the door, “Supper-supper-suppertime!” from Snoopy’s song in the ‘Charlie Brown’ musical. How did you know supper was ready when you were young?/etc)
3) Caregivers know that a person who is asking the same question is trying to find his or her way in the world, and for some reason has produced ‘this’ question. It could be that the person wants to know: where they are, if they’re meant to be making supper, or where to go so they’re on time for the meal. Caregivers can lend a hand, build a bridge, invite a person along a path that leads to success, no matter the question. With the world that is becoming increasingly challenging to navigate, as Robert Fulghum once said, “..when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.” *
The ‘question’ may change, develop, fade, be replaced by another, or a person may stop asking questions. At whatever stage a caregiver is experiencing the question, a good beginning is, “Let’s go together; we’ll find the answer.”
*”All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum
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