First Amendment Validation

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

                                                                                                                               -Voltaire

To have a voice, whether it is heard or not is a powerful right we have. Remembering when it is appropriate to voice your opinions and when it can do more harm than good is crucial. As caregivers our voice is one of comfort to our clients and the power of that should not be misused but should also not be forgotten.

As Americans we are proud to exercise our right to speak our mind and to use our first amendment. Speaking without thinking is common among friends and family and in today’s day and age that includes our social media. Being able to vent and speak to people on social media is allowed but be aware of the confidentiality of your clients and family that is being cared for and do not use their names.

When visiting with Clients it is easy to become friends since we spend so much time together. It is imperative that we watch what we say and use a filter and remember we are at work even if we are caring for a loved one. Because we spend so much time with our clients and become close I urge each person to encourage our elders to speak up about the values they have. Remind the client that we are in their home and what they say matters. Continue to be an advocate for them. If our clients are not comfortable with saying something, let it be said for them as we are the voice for them when they cannot do it themselves.

Our elderly community comes from a different time when you were as good as your word. Keep this in mind when we tell them we are going to do something as they take that to heart. Watch the promises we make and ensure they are promises that can be kept. When the client is word searching and cannot recall a phrase or says it wrong does not mean we have to correct them at the moment and each person has the right to be wrong.

Ultimately, the most important thing to a person, especially a senior, is to be heard and to be validated. Listening and seeing both the spoken and unspoken words from seniors is so crucial to their sense of belonging and quality of life. Too often, we underestimate the power of a smile, someone to care, or a listening ear. Do not underestimate the power you hold so close.