So, as a caregiver, do you make a big deal? Do you not say anything until THEY say something...OR...
Do we just ASK?
I found out one rather "sharp" late 90's client giggled like a little girl when I brought her a birthday balloon, homemade brownie bites and a card. She was beaming the whole shift. She felt special. It was HER day.
Another passed off the day without one comment that it was her birthday, and NO! she did not want anything special for dinner that night. I let that go as she clearly did not want recognition of the day.
The anniversary of a spouse's death for one client is being planned right now. We will go on a special outing and in memory of his wife, we will have FUN and do what they would have done, if she were still alive. The client initiated this, and I just asked some simple questions,
"What would be honoring to her?"
"How do you FEEL about recognizing this day?"
"Always share with me if you want to change your mind/plans for this day?!"
I think communication is key!!! Also being flexible. If this day proves to be too tough, I am willing to forgo plans and let the client lead the direction.
I think we tend to be so overly concerned with offending someone that we don't even ASK. Why ask? Because just knowing that someone cares enough to acknowledge an event is a human need met. And it also gives us clues on how to proceed.
If you are the only contact (or main contact) with the client during the day, recognizing milestones or birthdays gives them the peace knowing they matter to YOU the caregiver, and it gives YOU the caregiver a way to connect with your client.
We are doing LIFE together folks.
Don't forget to recognize that small stuff. (Or big stuff!)