The key to understanding your resident lies within recognizing where they are in their Life Reconciliation Process…
I may be introducing a new concept to many of you, but think about the one resident in your building who you feel you know the best. Maybe you spend just a little more time with them, listening to their stories and favorite memories; do you notice a pattern in what they share? Are there sharing stories from their childhood, about their mother, the time they spent in the war, or their favorite vacation spots as a retiree? Most likely there will be a pattern there, this pattern identifies where they are in their process of reconciling their lives. As we near the end of our lives we begin to focus more on the past; were we good to the ones we loved, was there trauma that we are still hung up on? This reconciliation is how we open, and more importantly, close the chapters of our past as we near the end of our book.
My good friend Marie was a nervous but funny woman born in France, who moved to the US after meeting her American husband as a young woman during WWII. She spent a lot of time telling me about her childhood, how her mother was mostly absent and how her town was under threat of German occupation. It wasn’t until I realized this pattern that I was able to tap into where and why she was stuck in this reconciliation process. To help her work this out, I introduced her to another resident, Sal. Sal was an outgoing Jewish man who had served in the Army, not too far from where Marie was. This pairing gave both of the residents to share their experiences in France during WWII and gave them each a new perspective about those times and events. Moving forward, Mimi was noticeably less nervous and even opened up to her daughter about that time in her life.
Because we were able to pinpoint where Marie was along this Reconciliation Process, we were able to serve Marie’s mental and spiritual needs and help her along her journey of life. It is not just enough to care for our residents physical and social needs, a holistic approach to care in our communities will result in happy, and well cared for residents and families.