My resolution for the New Year is to be a "good enough" care manager for my clients. The pioneering British psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicot, developed the concept of a “good enough mother,” who is attuned to her baby, and is neither too adapted to his or her needs, nor too distant. You are probably asking what this has to do with me and my clients. According to Winnicot, a “perfect” mother, who adapts too closely, and provides everything that her baby needs, does not allow the child to become independent and self sufficient. The good enough mother allows a space between total dependency and growing independence where she and her child discover their true selves through play.
As a Geriatric Care Manager, I am at risk of being caught up in the role, doing everything I can to provide for my clients' care, and in the process, forgetting to take the time to develop our relationship and finding the space to enjoy our time together. If I try to be perfect, I may lose the the essence of the care manager role. A good enough parent is assisting their child to launch into independence. A good enough professional, working with aging clients, has a more tricky role. We are assisting our clients in preserving as much independence and dignity as possible, while slowly taking over more and more responsibility for their care.
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If I'm not perfect, I can live in the moment with my clients, and take pleasure in the little things. And of course, if I'm not perfect, I can allow myself to occasionally bend the rules. One of the most meaningful things I did for a client was to bring her a hot burrito from her favorite Mexican restaurant, as she was returning home from the hospital. She was supposed to be eating only soft chopped food, so the burrito didn't exactly break the rules or endanger her, but it was not the food that her doctors and dietician had envisioned. For her, it was an expression of independence and joy in a world that was becoming more and more restricted and controlled by others.
My hope for us all this year is that we continue to be "good enough" for our clients, allow ourselves to be creative and think outside the box, and continue to treat our clients with the dignity and respect they deserve. Being good enough allows us the space to make suggestions and come up with novel solutions that may not have been tried before. But sometimes, being "good enough" means returning to the very simple things, like a hug or sharing an ice cream, and creating moments that are unique and heart-warming, full of playfulness and joy.
call (626) 437 5530 - Brenda