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Caregiving-First Steps in Building Relationships Web

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Caregiving: First Steps in Building Relationships The mission of Caregiving Team ministry is to respond to the social, emotional, practical and, if requested, spiritual needs of care partners. These needs are met by establishing a relationship with those you serve as opposed to simply entering the home, providing a service, and then leaving.  Caregiving Team ministry is based on a relationship model. Building a relationship is the first priority. Out of, or in the context of, these relationship
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    701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org  1 Caregiving: First Steps in Building Relationships The mission of Caregiving Team ministry is to respond to the social, emotional, practical and, ifrequested, spiritual needs of care partners. These needs are met by establishing a relationshipwith those you serve as opposed to simply entering the home, providing a service, and thenleaving.  Caregiving Team ministry is based on a relationship model. Building a relationship is thefirst priority. Out of, or in the context of, these relationships specific practical and otherneeds of care partners are met.  Care partners may request more services and more meaningful types of support when arelationship develops and bonding with team members occur.  Team members experience a greater sense of participation and satisfaction when theybond with a family. This may help to retain team members over a long period of time andminimize burnout.Steps toward building a relationship:    Commonality : Find the best possible match between team members and families to beserved taking into consideration geography, background, interests, resources, and otherfactors.    Introduction : Introduce new team members by accompanying them on an initial visit andencouraging team members to visit in pairs, when possible. Have a veteran teammember who knows the family make these introductions.    Listening : Focus time and energy to listen and learn about your care partner in thebeginning. Care and support services develop naturally throughout the relationship. Carepartners are more likely to accept support from someone that they know and trust, ratherthan a stranger.    Be Proactive : Do n’ t rely upon the care partner to request support, rather offer support asneeds ari se. Avoid the “call me if you need anything” declaration. Use specific questionsinstead “ Would you like to go to the gro cery store today?” or “ Would you mind if I washed these dishes in the sink for you?” These types of questions place the control with the carepartner to accept support or not, and avoids the embarrassment some familiesexperience if required to ask for help.    Work together : Another approach is to do with, not for, a care partner wheneverpossible. In other words, suggest activities that you can do together. If the care partner consistently declines offers of support, reformulate your request as a joint activity. “I’ll    701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org  2 wash the dishes, if you dry, ” “I’ve got a few gr  oceries to pick up this afternoon, would you like to come along and we can shop together?”      Be Yourself : Allow your own personality, and that of your care partner, to guide your conversations and relationships. Don’t be afraid to share your life and interests, as youare comfortable. This sharing should be positive and shouldn’t result in using the carepartner as a personal sounding board. A goal is to find common interests upon which tobuild relationships, trust, and mutual care.Conversations focusing on facts and feelings of the care partner are a powerful tool that canhelp build meaningful relationships. Going beyond the superficial topics of conversation help youto understand how you may better serve a family. It will also offer guidance about what is and isn’t acceptable to a care partner and under what circumstances a care partner might be morewilling to accept care.Not all of us find conversations with care partners easy. Sometimes, conversations can be hard work. A handout “Conversa tion Tips for Caregiving Team Members” may offer suggestions in getting conversations started. In addition, effective listening techniques, or generous listening,are great tools to delve deeper. Refer to the appropriate module for more detailed information.Relationships built upon trust include being sensitive to and maintaining confidentiality ofpersonal, medical, financial, and other private information. However, it is important to rememberthat what is shared by your care partner can be shared with other team members of the CareCircle and/or team. We will always respect the confidentiality of information shared, but we donot keep secrets from other team members. Our assurance of confidentiality creates a sacredspace between the Team member and the care partner through which our relationship deepens.  All team members are expected to complete and sign the team member registration formwhich includes a statement of confidentiality.  Often, to appropriately care for a family means to understand, as much as one can, whatthey are going through or have experienced in the past. As you foster a relationship withthem, you will be entrusted with various types of sensitive information. It will be importantto share with other team members any information that will enable them tocompassionately respond to their needs.  You may also find that by disclosing information about similar experiences you may havehad helps to deepen the trust between you and create a safe and inviting space for thecare partner to talk about matters of concern or meaningfulness.  Team members may come and go, but it is important for long term relationships that newmembers are made aware of information that is relevant to serving this family.A meaningful relationship with care partners is a mutually beneficial experience. This issomething that develops over time and involves intent. However, the rewards may bless youmore than you could have hoped. In the beginning of the relationship we may question how will    701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org  3 we get to know this person? Or, what do we really have in common? The answers may surpriseyou!Here is a quick exercise that may peak your interest and help you to connect with othersthrough conversation and listening. May you enjoy your journey. 3 COMMON 1 UNIQUE  Groups of 4-6 people, takes about 10 minutes.Object: To uncover 3 things all members of this small group have in common (other than theobvious shared membership on the Caregiving Team, living in the same town, and beinghuman!) For example, all have been to California, all have siblings, all like golf, also, discover 1thing that is unique to each person in the group. For example, only one is an only child, only onecollects plastic frogs, only one was born in a foreign country.Method: Appoint (or let them self- select) one player in each group to be the “scribe. Give the following (or similar) instructions: For the next 3-5 minutes we are going to look for 3 thingseach group member has in common with the other members of that small group and 1 thingunique for each member in that group. The scribe will write them down. For the unique part, youdon't have to be the only person in the world who has the trait, just the only person in the group.So, if everyone in the group has a sibling and you are an only child, then that is uniquenesswithin the group. When finished, ask each scribe to report on the similarities and uniqueness. They don't have toname names but they might want to. Either way is OK.Debrief: Every person we meet has something in common with us and has something new tooffer us. This is great information to have as we look for ways to overcome obstacles or diversityand begin to build relationships through listening and conversation.Outcome: People feel closer to each other and find connections to others.Related Modules:Generous Listening Written by Tom Breaux     701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org  4 Be a Better Listener With These Great QuestionsWhile some people may think of listening as a passive process ( “just shut up and listen”  ), the best listeners know they must be actively engaged to listen mosteffectively. One of the best things we can do to be better listeners is to ask betterquestions (Kevin Eikenberry). At some point, we’ve all wished we had listened more carefully (for me it’s at least onceper day). I’m sure you have been speaking at some time and wished the person you were talking to was listening more intently. It is obvious that more effective listeninghelps us better understand what is being said. Perhaps less obviously, better listening also helps us hear what isn’t being said –   helping us get the meaning behind someone’s words.Conversations often contain facts and feelings of the speaker. A good listener hearsboth. Facts and feelings are bases for forming relationships and creating bonds.Perhaps most importantly, listening effectively is one of the best ways to buildrelationships with others. Paying close attention and seeking to understand whatsomeone is saying matters deeply to the other person. It shows our respect and caringfor both the person and his or her message, and it is an incredibly supportive behavior. Reasons great listeners ask questions: There are specific purposes for the questionsasked when trying to listen more successfully. They fall into four basic categories:  Questions to confirm understanding  Questions to learn more  Questions to understand meaning or feelings  Questions to encourage and show supportThis short bullet list itself is helpful because if you keep these purposes in mind, you willbe able to formulate a good listening question at the appropriate time. So, you may bewondering, what is a really good listening question? The rest of this article provides youwith specific questions that you can use to become a better listener. Questions to confirm understanding    So what you are saying is . . .(fill in the blank). . . is that correct?     How did you come to your decision?     What factors were most important?  Questions to learn more- (Note  –    Adding “please” to these questions is a great idea!)  
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