After making the big decision to enroll my grandmother into a long-term facility, I made a vow that I would not go more than a couple of days without visiting her.
I stuck to this oath. On my best week, I would see Madea every single day. During my visits, I could not help but notice that her oral care was being neglected.
There were times that I would take out her dentures and see all of the food that she had eaten the day before. That was a NO NO! As you can imagine, I was livid.
I had a few words with her assigned CNAs and quickly realized that she was not neglecting any of her patients on purpose.
She simply did not know that my grandmother had dentures, and she did not know how to take them out.
I grew a deep appreciation for CNAs and caregivers because I worked alongside them and was introduced to what goes on behind the scenes.
I knew then that I was also responsible for ensuring that Madea had proper oral care. I felt responsible for educating her CNAs on proper oral care. This is particularly important because most CNAs are overwhelmed as there is a huge shortage of CNAs.
Since they do so much, it is important for CNAs and other caregivers to take care of themselves so that they have enough to give back to the seniors.
As a caregiver, here are some of the rituals to ensure that I undertake to make sure that I have enough energy to take care of others.
To me, self-care is a lot of things. But it is mostly about taking care of this temple ( body) to make it through this life. After all, we only get one body to make it through this journey.
As a caregiver, the most important thing is to love yourself and set boundaries. Know when to say “no” and know when to rest.
You should also make sure that you get enough sleep. For me, this is particularly important because every day I’m up by 4:00 am, I then meditate, exercise, and eat before starting my day.
At a certain age, you just can’t eat pizza and hamburger meals. It just won’t work for you.
Eat food that is nutritious and provides you with all the energy that you need. You can also find some healthy foods that you love. For example, I love salmon and pinto beans, which are delicious and healthy.
I don’t eat red meat because I have a slow intestinal track. So, red meat takes longer to get out of my system.
I’m mindful of the people who are around me. If someone is negative or has a bad vibe, I get away from them as quickly as possible.
That is a luxury that I have because I work for myself. I don’t have to hire anybody with a bad attitude. And I don’t have to accept a client with a bad attitude.
I learned as a young woman that all money is not good money. So, I would rather not work with people who make me have a bad day.
Avoiding negative vibes will help you reserve the energy to take care of the seniors.
If you want to hear more about geriatric dentistry, invite me to give a talk at your facility. You can also purchase my new book The Tooth and Nothing But the Truth to get moreinsights on this subject.