Frustration through cerebral deterioration can trigger violent or, the politically correct, “aggressive” episodes.
As caregivers, we tend to ‘scrub’ incidents whether sharing with others or even remembering ourselves.
In earlier years, in episodes of Multiple Sclerosis emotional lability Patti slapped at and scratched at me. Experience taught me her range. <grin>
Patti’s cousin shared an anecdote from his employment at a care facility. Trying to comfort a tiny, elderly, and frail resident in a wheelchair he leaned close. She hit him so hard he could barely keep his feet with stars spinning around in his head.
An autistic teenager has a sudden ‘aggressive episode’ and attacks their parent on a public sidewalk. Four strangers, unaware of dynamics of autism, become involved to restrain the youth before police and emergency personnel can arrive.
Violence is a spectrum from mild to at risk. It does and should change the caregiving equation.
Caregivers by nature are control freaks and control of the environment and stimuli makes it all work. Yet the power to control unravels as you expand your environment and the people involved in caring.
Violence toward a ‘contracted’ home care worker will pretty much end the home care era. Ironically, frustration is more apt to be higher with the variables of contracted workers. While hitting family is not right it has little legal consequence.
Violence contracts your world. Public episodes are out of a caregivers’ control. Strangers are random variables and exponentially increase the chance of someone getting hurt.
Frustration PLUS dependency on others is complicated, as is the caregiving involved.
Viewed through the introspection of “what could I as a caregiver have done different” to prevent the episode, right and wrong loose boundaries even definitions.
Knee jerk psychiatrists might raise battered something syndrome. Nor does codependency exactly fit as a label.
Caregiving, especially in this shadowy corner, is driven as always by the heart not definitions … and a wise appreciation for range of reach.
Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer
(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")