raising a toddler, caring for an elder

Caring for an elder is a lot like raising a toddler:
• Make sure you begin leaving the house a full hour before you have to get out the door.
• What’s on your plate is much more interesting even though yesterday they said they don’t like that food.
• They believe they are totally capable of making rational decisions, they’re not.
• You have to be creative in finding what they can choose for themselves that is safe and appropriate for their bodies.
• You have to be tolerant of spills, crumb trails, dropped things; they are doing the best they can with limited motor control.
• They want to do it for themselves even though they can’t.
• You marvel when your toddler accomplishes something she couldn’t do yesterday. You marvel when your elder has a lucid moment when you had no idea they had it in them.
• After an hour or two they wonder where you are and what you’re doing, and wish you would be with them.
• They like to have their own box of cookies and carefully watch how many are left. Sometimes choosing them before dinner so they will be sure to get some.
• They feel scared of the dark and hate when you aren’t home at night.
• Sometimes when you give someone else attention they get sullen but might not know why.
• They don’t have much prefrontal cortical activity to modulate their strong reactions. Their limbic brains are in charge. They feel belittled when you try to help, or try to give them accurate information.
• Out in the world they can hold it together and others find them delightful.
• When you kiss them goodnight you really see how vulnerable and dependent they are and you feel the love that is driving you to do this care.child and elder faces

About karenkirsch

I am a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Laban Movement Analyst. I have a Masters degree in Somatic Psychology with training in Interpersonal Neurobiology, Body Mind Centering, Dance Therapy and other mind/body disciplines. My passion is to help people integrate sensate understanding into the practice of daily living and encourage gentle exploration grounded in sound anatomical and neurological principles.
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