How do we return to our person centred care programs in 2022?

By Rahzeb Choudhury and Ashley King

January 2022

The pandemic has taken us off kilter, and for many of us, caused us to lose our guiding light toward person-centred care. Protocols change so often, people are worn out, we are struggling with energy and resources and, sadly, people leave us. This is all having a toll on our honorable profession.

As serious and significant as all these issues are they are distracting us from our main goal - maximizing quality of life for elders in our homes. A few months became a year and is now approaching two years.

Things have to change. So, what is in our power to change? This is the question we, the authors, Rahzeb Choudhury and Ashley King and, Dr. Gary Irwin-Kenyon, Daphne Noonan found ourselves asking when we met at the end of last summer. Part of the answer we feel came in the form of the monthly Pathways Series Webinar, which began in October last year and will continue throughout 2022.

It starts with self-care

We are all feeling the pressure, or put it more accurately, the effects of chronic stress. And now deep into winter it’s difficult to be positive, light and playful. Things we have to be in order to maintain a relaxed and warm atmosphere for elders in our care.

So now more than ever, we need to exercise self-care. And at the heart of self-care is stillness: finding calm, perspective and much more. During the first fifteen minutes of each Pathways session Gary, a pioneer of narrative gerontology, tai chi teacher, and author, is our guide on stillness.

The value of stillness

Here’s an example explaining why stillness is so important to integrate into our daily lives.

Stillness exercises

Each session Gary invites us to join in a few straight forward exercises that everyone can do. These exercises focus on improving how we use our core physiology through breathing, gentle movements and, cultivating our use of intention.

The more you practice the more you’ll benefit from these small stillness interventions in your daily lives. They can be transformative. If you’d like to explore the topic of Stillness further, we highly recommend Gary’s book on the topic.

Opening up possibilities

Having (re)found stillness, Daphne and I (Ashley) are tasked with connecting us to and inspiring us around our core values - maximizing quality of life for elders in our homes - through person-centred care. A few examples are shared now to illustrate the types of tools we use during the sessions.

Imagine the feeling of home

In this example, Daphne guides us through a powerful visualization exercise using our imagination to trigger memories, emotions and associations to connect with that all important feeling of home. Watch the short video and try it out.

Plan first for yourself

Let’s face it, right now we don’t have enough control or foresight to make plans that commit much of our time to any great change programs. What we can do is walk the person-centred walk and make some person-centred planning for ourselves. In this video Daphne introduces four simple questions she asks herself and revisits to help her stay focused on the things that matter at any particular point in time. We invite you to take a look and consider introducing them.

Then plan for others

In this final example, Daphne and I (Ashley) use the very same four questions and asked a few colleagues at the nursing homes where we are executive directors for their answers based on their roles. During December’s session, Daphne guides us through the four-question exercise and asks us to consider what our work plans/answers would include. Some of the responses from our colleagues are used as examples to help stimulate ideas. So there’s no top down you must do this or that. Instead our colleagues are asked to look realistically at the things that they want to continue doing, stop doing, do more of or start doing. All we’ve done is provided a straightforward framework to begin. Take a look and see if this is something for you.

Life isn’t a plan. It’s a story

The thing with plans is that they have a tendency to be rigid. To be possible and relevant at one point in time, and less so other times. The story is always evolving. Sometimes life gets easier, other times like now, life is hard on us. With the Pathways series we’re sharing the things that we’ve learnt along the way that have helped us to stay resilient and focus on the things that ultimately matter the most. We invite you to join us for 30 minutes each month this year as we continue to share and learn from each other.

The Pathways Series 2022

These free online monthly 30-minute sessions are for caregivers and care professionals who welcome help, and would like to improve your ability to manage your energy, motivation, and perspective— for your own wellbeing—and in order to better provide the quality care that you desire to achieve. While we have a specific audience in mind, anyone interested is welcome to join.

  • Jan 27, 12:00 PM EST
  • Feb 24, 12:00 PM EST
  • Mar 31, 12:00 PM EST
  • Apr 28, 12:00 PM EST
  • May 26, 12:00 PM EST
  • Jun 30, 12:00 PM EST
  • Aug 25, 12:00 PM EST
  • Sep 29, 12:00 PM EST
  • Oct 27, 12:00 PM EST
  • Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
  • Dec 29, 12:00 PM EST

All registrants receive session recordings, clips of exercises, and invitations to future sessions. You can unregister at any time.