During this Super Summer, the superheroes at Signature have all been assembled to meet the challenge of defeating three major villains that are wreaking havoc on our residents – Lady Loneliness, the Baron of Boredom, and the Harbinger of Helplessness! But in order to defeat these evil foes, we must first start by identifying the unique and amazing strengths that all of us have, especially our wonderful residents! Identifying strengths has less to do with physical capabilities, and everything to do with personality and spirit! Are your residents funny, charming, appreciative, kind, caring, or clever? Do they give welcoming hugs? Do they have warm smiles? What special skills or untapped knowledge do our residents possess? What hobbies or interests do they have? What victories or triumphs have they experienced? All these things, and more, are often unrecognized strengths that they have.
Often in our industry, we operate from a deficiency-based model when we provide care to residents. We focus on what residents cannot do, as ways to determine the care they require and even how we will be reimbursed for care and services rendered. We document them as being “non-compliant with care”, “maximum assist x 2”, or “cognitively impaired”. We tend to focus on what the resident is lacking, specific weaknesses and shortcomings, and problems that they may be experiencing. From this model, as caregivers, we tend to relegate our attention to things we can fix or replace. While this may seem a logical thing to do considering the industry in which we find ourselves, operating from this deficit-focused framework neglects to honor our residents’ strengths, ignores their resiliency, and can cause them to internalize feelings of shame, decreased confidence, declining independence, and decreased their competence. Research and studies have found a positive link between strengths and self-esteem, noting that identification and usage of strengths correlates with higher self-esteem and more self-efficacy. Instead of focusing on what residents cannot do, let’s change the game and begin to operate from a strength-based model, focusing on what residents CAN do!
During this first week of our Super Summer challenge, let’s help them identify their amazing strengths and empower them to become special superheroes!
Jasmine Wadkins, MSSW, CSW, CDP, BF-CMT, CCTP