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A Photograph is Worth 1000 Words

I have tried numerous ways to connect with clients. I find pictures can be a great way to connect with clients when care taking.

Janet, age 78, had told me a little bit about her life the first month I was with her. She was a nurse married to a college zoology professor. She gave up her career to raise her two girls. What really interested me was her artistic nature. When we cleaned out her closets she had drawings and paintings she had completed over the years. When she pulled out floor plans she had drawn I was fascinated with the detail and accuracy of her work. After she took out her pictures I really felt connected to her. Her home was based on those actual floor plans! It was a split level with an atrium inside the home, very modern for the 60’s; unique even by today’s standards. She had talked about her children but this really brought them to life. The pictures of her home and family really gave me a sense of the lifestyle she led and what she enjoyed doing. She was so proud of her life. It made her come alive to revisit those memories. She was positively glowing. The whole experience drew her out of a funk and brought us closer.

I have done care taking for Carol, age 85, off and on for years. Carol was an art teacher in a beachfront community in Southern California in the 60’s. Her life was interesting to say the least. She went through the racial tension felt against her husband, Al, a police officer who was always under imminent danger. One of her students lived with her, her husband and her four children for close to a year. With all the animals on their wooded property they were one big happy family. I new she loved trees and the forest. Her interest in photography and art was always something we had in common. She and Al retired to a home she designed just outside Yosemite Park.

She decided to do a slide show of winter scenes she had taken in and around Yosemite Park for the people in her Senior Complex. Through this experience I saw even more of her creativity, had a better understanding of her interest and connection to trees, and got a chance to see the home she designed and built. Although I had known her for many years this felt like I had a glimpse into her past. Like Janet, it drew me closer to her.

Both of these women designed impressive homes and although they have slowed down considerably it gave me a sense of how intelligent and vibrant they were. These women are very powerful and multidimensional women who I am very proud to know. I would recommend using pictures as a tool to draw out someone who may be depressed or hopeless about their present circumstances. Making a collage using memorable pictures is a good way to engage in something actively together, enjoy each others company and create something new out of the past giving your client a sense of accomplishment.

Lynn Kwitt Lynn Kwitt is originally from New York State. She is a BSW RMT CWC CR. As a caregiver she often uses essential oils in her day to day practices. You can get more information on her Web site at: http://www.wholisticapproaches.com/

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