Human life is a precious thing.

We tend to forget that. We read and hear that there are seven billion people on the planet. That sounds like an enormous number and it is. But that doesn’t make human life common or something to take for granted. Look at all the living things on this planet. All of the different insects, spiders, birds, mammals, and fish which outnumber us by far. We are complicated creatures and yet we thrive. Even those who are ill or aging can survive for a long time. Yes, these humans might need medical care or the attention of other humans but we are amazing, nothing short of miraculous. When you are taking care of a human, you are taking care of a miracle, a true treasure.

As a caregiver, you have a lot of responsibility to ensure that the human who relies on you receives the best possible care and has the greatest journey that you can design. When the human that you love is beginning to run out of time, make it your goal to ensure that the days left in their life are of the highest quality. And how do you do that? How do you, a busy and probably stressed-out individual, take on the weight of trying to ensure that somebody’s time is rich? Do you have to take them to Disneyland or a trip around the world? Must you buy them luxury goods? Of course, those are nice but not necessary. In fact, material goods and events may dwindle in importance to someone who is ending their human experience.

To make someone’s life valuable to them you only need to focus on two goals every day, if possible. Just two concepts for a meaningful life.

Goal One: Arrange for the person to have some type of mental, emotional, or sensory stimulation daily. (Don’t aim for constant stimulation. Downtime for reflection is just as important as activity.) The person can:

  • learn something new

  • be challenged by a puzzle

  • listen to a story, or write their own history

  • enjoy time with another person, a memory, or an animal

  • taste delicious food

  • observe nature

  • receive an aromatic, soothing massage.

These are all inexpensive and easy to provide. Yet, these activities will engage the mind and heart for minutes, hours, or days. The length of time doesn’t matter. It’s the connection to joy that matters. You have the power to connect this special human to joy. How powerful is that?

Goal Two: Everyone wants to feel needed. Everyone wants to feel that they matter on this planet. You can fill this need by

  • seeking their advice

  • asking for help with a chore

  • letting them know how much you appreciate them

  • telling them how much they have contributed to the world in which they have lived.

You can leave an indelible impression of their human worth.

You might wonder about someone with dementia or someone with limited cognitive abilities. How can you meet these goals for them? You absolutely still can. Even though you can’t always see the impact of your actions, the person can be moved by them. You can play music for them, touch their skin with your hands or different fabrics and textures. Fragrant lotions can calm or stimulate the mind.  Asking someone to do a chore for you doesn’t have to be complicated. One of my favorites is fabric folding. If you set out scarves or cloth napkins and towels for a person, you might find that they enjoy folding, handling, or sorting them. Whatever the activity, don’t become attached to a specific outcome with this type of person.  The point is that you can connect with any human and the effect will be felt whether or not you fully see how.

We can often become very bogged down with our responsibilities as caregivers. We have our own chores and phone calls and errands to handle. It can be easy to forget what a prestigious role we have taken on. We are responsible for the physical and emotional well-being of this miraculous human. Although it doesn’t feel like it all of the time, we truly are blessed to be able to assist someone in the most challenging part of their Journey. When that person finally returns Home, they will look back at you with pure love and enormous gratitude. They will marvel at what a precious and amazing human being YOU are.

You are a miracle. Don’t ever forget that.

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