I imagine that you’re here because you hope to find someone who gets it; someone who understands your situation.
Someone who can help you assess whether your loved one needs help for the first time, more help or a new kind of help.
Someone who can help you discern if you’re over-reacting or are spot on with your concerns.
Someone who can give you all the details you need for finding the help needed.
That’s a lot of “someones.” All those someones add up to me.
Hello, I’m Linda Resca. A caregiver coach, consultant and one-on-one private caregiver.
Nine years ago, I began my journey as a one-on-one private caregiver. That role continues to provide me with a unique expertise as a caregiver coach and consultant.
I’ve had clients with a large variety of needs and I’ve witnessed many successful (and unsuccessful) ways of opening the communication that leads to help for your loved one.
How I Got Started
Nine years ago I initiated a big transition in my life. I left a job that was no longer right for me. I sold my house and decided to move to Portland, OR.
As I was closing things out my friend Polly called and said “I was just hired as a personal assistant for a woman with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Soon she’ll need much more help than I alone can give her. Do you think you’d like to be part of her care-giving team?”
Since I had no idea what I’d do next for work I decided to interview for this position. The client and her family hired me. I was part of her care-giving team for two years.
Almost immediately, while caring for my new client, I realized I was completely in love with this work.
Care-giving consistently offers me opportunities for my own healing and transformation. Sometimes I ask myself “who’s helping whom?”
I bring this unique perspective of “who’s helping whom” to my deep understanding of effective communication during the very sensitive time when clarity is required for assessing your loved one’s needs.
It’s important that you have the skills to look deep into your and your loved one’s heart.
Without those skills, the result is often one of repeatedly getting triggered and upset by the other’s behavior, comments, etc …. For example, your mom might have a table that she sits at all day. This table is completely covered with papers, paper clips, magazines, band-aids, newspaper clippings from over thirty years ago …. It drives you nuts; the extreme clutter is crazy making. This is all true and, while looking more deeply behind all the outer stuff, you realize that this mountain of debris actually grounds your mother who is confused inside of her dementia. It gives her a place to land every day that is familiar. It brings comfort.
I’ve Seen Both Sides
After having a multitude of health problems –cancer three times and five surgeries — I deeply understand what it feels like to suddenly have your entire life upended. Your whole routine must be rearranged. And quickly! It may happen so quickly that you hardly have time to take a breath.
The spiritual, emotional, mental and physical ramifications are profound. There is suffering and, opportunity for great healing.
Now, you might wonder what this has to do with figuring out if your loved one needs help, more help or no help. How will you bring it up? How will you find the right person to assist you both? And where will you find all the answers to the many, many other questions and worries you have?
There Are the Nuts ‘n’ Bolts, and then there’s the Softer Side of Care-giving.
You have to begin with the softer side which is where the dots will connect between your needs and my personal experiences.
- The softer side means you begin with the fundamentals that we almost always forget when stressed and frightened; like pausing and breathing. A huge dose of self-compassion as well as the same for your loved one, must be mixed in there, too.
- If you approach the situation with your loved one like a race horse bolting out of the starting gate, you’ll hit a wall or, could feel like a cat chasing her tail. You increase the risk of getting started in a way that upsets everyone involved.
- It’s critical to know about the nuts ‘n bolts, but if you begin there, you’re putting the horse before the cart. You can’t make good clear decisions that are best for you and your loved one, if you rush into the initial conversations.
- There is tremendous vulnerability when your life suddenly changes.
- Adversity offers an introduction to yourself. This means that the challenges you’ll face open a door to greater deeper understanding of your and your loved one’s life and situation.
- People don’t give you a hard time, they’re having a hard time.
I’ve witnessed many kinds of communication and needs. Most of the time I’m hired at the beginning of my client’s new life. This means that they can no longer live independently in their home.
My philosophy in care-giving is that the family/client gets to call all the shots. The only exception I make to this is if there’s something dangerous or potentially life threatening happening.
Obviously, the family knows their loved one better than I do. That said, because this shift into a different life requires your loved one to enter new territory without a map, they’re quite naturally scared, tender, and feel extremely vulnerable as they anticipate losing control of their life. They most likely felt everything was going quite well until you came in and announced that things will now be different.
I deeply understand this scenario and as a result am highly skilled at communicating in a way that can meet everyone’s needs. When giving input I’m often asked, “How did you know how to say that?!”
I’ve developed a deep intuitive sense that helps me know what to say. This sense has evolved over time as a result of my challenging circumstances.
I earned a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Oregon. In addition to being a private care-giver for the past 9 years, I spent 21 years working with disabled infants, young children and their parents in their home. Because I encountered a huge variety of lifestyles and communications styles, I became highly skilled in clear non-judgmental communication.
I’ve also received training in NVC (Non Violent Communication). This training reminds me that we all have important needs, not just me! That recognizing these needs is a vital part of self-care and compassion. It taught me how to make requests so everyone’s needs get met.
Lastly, I attended four and a half years of intensive study at The Jaffe Institute of Spiritual and Medical Healing (now known as The University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism). After graduating, I became an assistant teacher for one year.
The USHS curriculum focused on healing from the level of the heart and soul. The first year was entirely about healing the healer and while the remaining years continued this process there was also emphasis on learning how to help others heal.
Some specific things I learned at USHS that increase my skills as a consultant, coach and caregiver is an ability to quickly understand the deeper meaning of my client’s struggles. A simple example of this is when my consultant client, as she said “Went off on you” (meaning went off on me), I did not react because I knew she was over the top with overwhelm and exhaustion. The other reason I didn’t react was because I also have a deep understanding of not only my own triggers but also common ones for others. A trigger is like when your “Uh-OH!” button gets pushed and your mind goes racing off into a variety of stories about the situation that are actually, not true.