What beautiful weather we have had so far this spring! The birds are chirping in the morning, the buds are starting to blossom on the trees, the tulips are sprouting up.... and our residents, staff & families are so excited to see that mama duck has come back to our courtyard to have her little babies!
Every year we look forward to her arrival & we wait in anticipation for the little ones to hatch. It becomes part of my departments daily routine to feed the ducks, refill their drinking water & refill their swimming pool. I love when we open the courtyard door and they all come running up to greet us. We all love them so much! At any given moment you can see our residents peeking through the windows with excitement while they watch "our babies" grow.
When our babies get big enough, we lead them through the halls & outdoors towards the Coon Rapids Dam. I put this day off as long as I can because I hate saying goodbye to them. My staff & I get so attached to our little ducks. We take care of them for so long & we miss them so much after they have gone. I have to tell myself over and over that I need to let them go. They need to spread their wings & learn to fly.
When you work in Long Term Care, saying "goodbye" is part of your job. You connect with people and get attached to them...& eventually you will have to say goodbye. It can be hard to cope when the residents become family to you. I have been asked several times by friends, families and people who don't work in LTC why I have chosen to work in this environment? Like so many of us in this field, I don't think I "chose" to be a caregiver. I think it chose me.
Working in LTC is so rewarding in the fact that we get to come to work everyday & be with the residents that we love. They become family members to us. The care we provide enhances their quality of life. It's very evident when you watch the way our residents & staff interact that our residents are enhancing our quality of life as well. It doesn't feel like a job when you love what you do.
I try not to dwell on the sad aspect of having to say goodbye. I focus on how we can bring happiness to our residents lives every day. Fill their days with activities they enjoy, show them friendship & trust, treat them with dignity & respect, show love & compassion, empower them, show them how special they are.
Then when the day comes that you will have to say goodbye, maybe it won't be so sad...You can remind yourself of the great care you gave and how they knew how much they were loved. Even though you will miss them, it's alright to let them go. It's time to let them spread their wings & learn to fly.