Are you creating a narrative for your residents’ families?

“Oh hey Deb, great to see you! I haven’t seen you in a while, have you been travelling?”

That comment really got under my skin.

I had been travelling for work, when I was an executive in Seniors’ Care, and I had been away for a week or so. This greeting came from a PSW who was taking care of Ty in his long-term care home.

Let’s be real – I’m pretty sure she wasn’t saying that as a judgmental statement, but what I heard in my head was something like this:

“Wow – you aren’t visiting your husband as much as you SHOULD, you know! Must be nice to travel and abandon your husband.”

And that had everything to do with me, as a residents’ wife, struggling with my role, identity, grief, frustration and loss.

In the book Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD, he says:

What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause.

Read that again – it really does bring it back to us and how we are choosing to react or respond.

He expands with how one of the components of Non Violent Communication entails “the acknowledgement of the root of our feelings. NVC heightens our awareness that what others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause, of our feelings. We see that our feelings result from how we choose to receive what others say and do, as well as from our particular needs and expectations in that moment.

Something to keep in mind when we find ourselves creating a narrative that really is about how we are choosing to interpret what other people say or do, that may not be useful or helpful to the situation.

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Are you creating a narrative for your residents’ families?

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