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Living the Praxis for Care 

Becoming Part of the 70%: An Interesting Encounter with a Fellow Caregiver

A few days ago I went to the hardware store and as I was parking, I noticed a man struggling to get some heavy planks out of his car. So once I'd parked, I walked up to him and asked, "Do you need some help?" To which he replied, "Do YOU need some help?" And I responded, "Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I need someone to help me fix my screen."

My response caught him completely off guard and he just froze. So for a few seconds, he just kind of stood still and looked at me and then he started talking.

He shared that he was a family caregiver, so I immediately extended my hand and said, "Really? I'm a family caregiver, too. I take care of my mom. She has Alzheimer's dementia." Then he just unloaded everything that was going on in his life.

He told me about the health care challenges of his parents and what he was experiencing with them and how two of his siblings were really helpful, but one was just causing real chaos in the family. His siblings' chaos was making him extremely angry and it was really stressing him out about caring for his parents.

Then, he mentioned his own health care challenges, and it was at that point that I really understood his snappishness. In his way, he apologized to me when he said, "About 70% of people are really nice, but it's the 30% that you have to be careful about."

What he said made me stop and think about how someone else might perceive my actions. Whereas I thought I was just being kind and offering a hand, someone else may think that I see them differently than they see themselves. To me, I just saw a man who could probably use an extra hand, but in his experience, he's probably encountered people who saw a disabled person who needed to be helped.

Offering to help someone is just who and how I am, and as I shared that with him, it helped to diffuse his frustration. As I live my life and encounter more people, I guess I want to be one of the 70%.

My encouragement for you this week is to be kind to yourself so that you can be kind to the people you encounter and become part of the 70%.

Thank you for reading. Be well until next time.

-Dr. Sheri


Dr. Sheri L. Yarbrough is an author, caregiver, and founder of Praxis Senior Care-Giving Solutions, a consulting business that provides care-givers with practical and easily implemented strategies that can be tailored to meet their individual care needs.

View Dr. Yarbrough's weekly blog on all things caregiving from a caregiver's perspective.

Listen to Dr. Yarbrough's Podcast: Straight Talk for Giving-Care.


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