A nursing facility where I have a client recently required that she have a hired CNA on a short term basis because she was having some difficult behaviors. She was feeling hopeless about her health situation. The family had no choice but to comply if they wanted the family member to remain in the nursing facility. After two weeks of help from the CNA my client became helpless. The CNA taught her to be helpless by being “helpful” instead of teaching my client to be more independent. My client was pushed from place to place in her wheelchair, versus pushing herself. All of her requests were met immediately by the CNA versus my client having to try to do things herself. All in all the experience was not good. On the first day the CNA was not with my client, my client called me stating that she needed her diaper changed. I asked if she was in her wheelchair and she stated yes. I instructed her to roll herself down the hall to the nurse’s station and ask to be changed. She said that doing so would be exhausting. I replied that she could be exhausted and clean or helpless and wet. There are times when we as caregivers enable those we care for to become helpless. Sure it’s easier and sometimes quicker to do things ourselves, but in the end we’re teaching the person we care for to become more reliant on us – and then we become angry that we’re so needed. Enable the person you care for to become more independent, not independent.

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