English: Old luggage at Arley railway station ...

In my last post I address the personal side of packing and packaging. In this post, I explore the special issues caregivers may have.

What special issues (if any) do caregivers carry?

There are certain physical and emotional challenges in being a caregiver whether it is a personal or a professional situation. Caring for others requires a level of energy and places physical demands especially as the amount of assistance required increases.

Emotionally, we may remember others who have faced similar physical challenges as the person for whom we are caring. Memories of this person, emotions we experienced related to them may surface. We also may have emotions related to person for whom we are currently caring.

As stated in the previous post, awareness of the issues is the first step. Caring for your physical and emotional state is important. Seek assistance in the physical care or in emotional support if you need it.

How might these affect the care they provide?

Some people are sensitive to our physical and emotional states. They feel they are burdening you with their care. Others may be unaware of the care they require or how your past experiences are affecting the care they receive. Either way, your past experiences will color your current duties.

How can I assist others to do the same unpacking in my work?

In general, I recommend leaving it to the professional to help the person receiving the care in this process. That said, sometimes sharing and discussing songs can open a space for conversation. And, these conversations might alert you to their needs for further support.

Here are some songs older adults may know. Try singing or listening to them and then discussing aspects of the lyrics. Questions might include what the person had packed or carried, how they were feeling, and whether they felt that way.

What strikes you as a song that might relate to “packaged issues” of an elder in your care? Please share them in the comments below.