Friday, April 20, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

It really helps to consider the whole picture.

We were enjoying a peaceful lunch in the library this week when one of our residents entered in a fury. He was yelling about his food and was demanding to speak with the "manager of this place." (!)
My boss spoke with him as calmly as she could, in spite of the way he was carrying on and speaking to her. And when the whole thing was over, we all congratulated her for how well she had kept her composure.

She told us that the entire time he was yelling at her, she kept reminding herself that he has dementia. If he was a rational thinking man, he wouldn't have been carrying on as he was. The scene left her shaken, but she made it through by remembering this wasn't a personal attack. It was the result of a man losing his ability to think clearly.
And she realized something else, too. Part of his rampage was because he had been served a burned sandwich. In reality, it was a sandwich served on swirled rye bread. But since this man is nearly blind, well, to him it looked like the bread was burned. Sharing that piece of information with him was useless, but at least the understanding helped her get through the moment.

Witnessing that event, and hearing my boss reflect on how she kept her composure through it was a valuable lesson this week.
Are you in the middle of a circumstance which is troubling to you? Are you frustrated because people aren't behaving as you would hope or expect? Let me encourage you to try looking at things from their perspective. Because, it really helps to consider the whole picture.


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