Photo by Pixabay
Avoiding ableism and toxic positivity when caring for those in hospice care should be prioritized if we ever want to deliver high-quality care.
Eleanor Gaccetta, author of One Caregiver’s Journey, knows how detrimental ableism and toxic positivity can be. Having cared for her sick mother in hospice care before, Eleanor knows how painful it is to be subjected to ableist views. Although her mother was the one she cared for, whenever she heard off-hand comments in hushed voices, she felt a jolt of pain rise from her heart to her head.
It’s one of the reasons why we and Eleanor are focused on doing what we can to give the best hospice care. A hospice care not dominated by judgment but is centered around love.
Let Us First Understand What Ableism and Disablism Is
What exactly does ableism and disablism mean? Here is a brief explanation of the two:
• Disablism – A group of beliefs and behaviors, whether conscious or not, that support treating someone differently or unfairly due to real or imagined disability.
• Ableism – The social norms and behaviors that limit and undervalue the potential of people with disabilities. A set of behaviors and viewpoints that devalue (undervalue) people with physical, developmental, emotional, or mental problems.
Both terms refer to different types of prejudice, but disablism focuses more on discriminating against individuals who have disabilities. Ableism, on the other hand, focuses more on discrimination in favor of persons who do not have impairments.
Many people would swear they are not ableists, yet ableism may be more covert and occasionally more difficult to spot.
Watch Out for Signs of “Toxic Positivity”
Now, let’s talk about toxic positivity. What exactly is toxic positivity? We believe the best way to describe it is to ask two simple questions:
• Have you ever regurgitated fake, happy, or positive verbal diarrhea because you were at a loss for words stemming from not listening to what another individual was saying?
• Have you experienced chastising or shaming other people for expressing their frustrations or anything that isn’t what you’d consider to be “good vibes”?
If your answer to these questions is yes, then you’ve probably unknowingly thrown around pieces of toxic positivity.
Avoiding ableism and toxic positivity isn’t simple, but we can lessen the amount we engage in them by identifying them. Here are some examples:
• “Positive vibes only.”
• “Don’t worry, be happy.”
• “Everything that happens, happens for a reason.”
• “Just be more positive.”
• “Things could also go worse.”
In Eleanor Gaccetta’s book One Caregiver’s Journey, readers can find helpful tips on providing proper hospice care minus ableism and toxic positivity. By realizing that toxic positivity and disabilities (in this case, for the terminally ill elderly) don’t jive together, we can practice being better caretakers.
Genuine Tips On Supporting a Chronically Ill Person
Now, there are many ways for us to show our support to a chronically ill person. Here are some genuine tips we gathered that anyone can use whenever they’re caring for someone:
1. Showcase Interest in What They’re Going Through and Support Them
In order to show support, we (as caretakers) must be with our patients through thick and thin. We need to be there during their doctor appointments. Exercising with them, if allowed, is an excellent way to show that you’re there. Caregivers can even donate to a charity to honor their patients.
Whatever the case, the goal is to make the patient feel that they’re not alone in their journey. This makes the whole ordeal more bearable, and it might even make them feel like their lives still have a sense of normalcy in them.
2. Let Go of Certain Expectations
Never count on somebody with a chronic condition to always be present. Life is difficult, especially when one’s health is erratic. The ideal assistance caregivers can offer is continued understanding and love.
Moreover, caregivers should have faith that the patients are doing their best and will return to the scene once they feel better.
3. Remind Patients That It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Recognize that many individuals who experience physically persistent illnesses also experience anxiety and despair. Concerning both our bodily and mental health, we will experience difficult times.
You can ask what the patient enjoys doing when they’re feeling down. Observe what makes them happy or give them space if necessary (but don’t be offended if it’s the latter). They sometimes need some downtime and private space.
Make Avoiding Ableism and Toxic Positivity a Priority
Now that you know more about ableism, disablism, and toxic positivity, you can better avoid them. These traits don’t help elderly patients in hospice care. They also serve to exacerbate the negative feelings they’re going through.
We hope that this blog will help our readers. If you wish to learn more about hospice care, read some of our other blogs and how adults can talk to kids about it.
Don’t forget to purchase Eleanor Gaccetta’s book One Caregiver’s Journey and learn more about the art of caregiving through her personal experience!