Tag Archives: compassion

Writing a Letter to Yourself

Covered Bridge: What I Know Now

I have this idea, an idea that once changed how I handle and approach things that has stuck with me to this day. The advice, you ask?  

“I cannot say anything to make you feel any better in this season of life you are in, but I promise you time heals all things.”

While this advice seems so simple and is maybe even heard frequently, when you are 17, it is anything but.

This advice came from my great-aunt. She wrote to me (you know, actually on paper, with a pen, mailed with a stamp she purchased via USPS, and not in a text or email?) A meaningful letter that she took her precious time to send to me personally because I meant something to her. She has since passed, and I still regret not emphasizing just how much it really meant to me even after all these years.

While I know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea and is a little outside my own box, this idea might help change the way my daughters, niece, nephews, or grandkids view or handle a certain situation one day (should I be so lucky).

I was 17 and lost two friends in a vehicle accident, and that letter where she told me about a tragic loss she had is what gave me hope I would eventually make it through.

So here is the idea. Have you ever considered writing a letter to your younger self?  Your title: What I Know Now.

What if this letter could help someone through a tough time? What if this letter is something you leave behind to someone you love or is able to help in their time of need?

This will require you to remember your past while considering the present, written in an encouraging voice with compassion and understanding during a certain stage of your life so that another person can understand the message or theme.

Think about a scenario from when you were a particular age and how you would change that. What advice would you give to your younger self to do things differently? We all have a unique story to tell because we are all unique in our own ways.

Someone somewhere wants to hear all about it.

 

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Balancing Daily Tasks with Dementia

Vantage Point: Summer Activity Opens Eyes, Prompts Compassion

I love all the fun activities that come with summer—festivals, parades, vacations, theme parks, and backyard barbecues. One of my recent summer activities, however, was unlike any I’ve ever done before, and the profound experience will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

I had the opportunity to watch a video of the Virtual Dementia Tour®, compliments of Assured Home Health and Hospice in Moses Lake. The tour gives family members and professional caregivers the chance to experience (as closely as possible) the physical, mental, and emotional challenges people with dementia face every day.

Before the tour, the group takes a short pretest. One of the questions is, “Do you think people with dementia are justified in their actions?” The answer choices are “yes,” “no” and “somewhat.” Most people answer “somewhat.”

After the pretest, the activity alters the participants’ mental and physical abilities when they put on these items.

  • Goggles that restrict their vision, as if they have macular degeneration
  • Headphones with garbled or random background noises, like people with mental disorders experience
  • Gloves with the fingers taped together and with popcorn kernels in the fingertips, and shoes with popcorn kernels in the toes, to represent neuropathy and arthritis

The group then goes to another room. Organizers give participants five everyday tasks, like sorting laundry and setting the table, to complete without help in a certain time frame.

Watching the people go through the experience made me think of being in a carnival maze, where you have a warped sense of bearings, balance, and judgment.

Most participants find the experience eye-opening. Even if they thought they knew what to expect, many didn’t anticipate bursting into tears of frustration or falling on the ground in confusion. Many change their pretest answer about behavior being justified from “somewhat” to “yes” in the post-test.

If you have a loved one with dementia or are a caregiver, I suggest you take the Virtual Dementia Tour. If you live in Grant County and want to sign up for a tour through Assured Home Health and Hospice, please call Julie Johnson at 509-766-2580 or Terri Riley-Brown at 509-765-1856.

ABC’s Nightline featured a powerful story about the Virtual Dementia Tour.  If you don’t take the tour, you can still see what the experience is like by watching this clip.

I hope you make fun memories with family and friends this summer. I also hope you take time to either watch the Nightline clip or sign up for the Virtual Dementia Tour so we can all increase our understanding and compassion for people with dementia.