I write a weekly syndicated column for Patch.com on caregivers. This week, I wrote about me and my personal path that lead me to working for nonprofits. While I am now currently a full-time freelance writer and communications consultant, my background was critical for me to learn intricate details about our community, the people in our community living in myriad socio-economic lifestyles and dealing with many different social problems. Learning about all of these people, their circumstances, challenges and the inspirational stories of how many have overcome these challenges has helped me learn to communicate and connect with people from all walks of life. I am grateful for all I have experienced and I look forward to the journey that lies ahead!
A career in the caregiving field is a personal one. There are as many unique stories, callings and circumstances as there are professionals in the field. Here is my story:
Communicating Without Words
I began my career as a professional caregiver more than 13 years ago, but to be honest, it wasn’t an intentional choice. I was actually an aspiring opera singer majoring in classical voice performance who needed a night job to match my busy college and audition schedule. The helping fields had residential programs for overnight shifts so I applied. This launched the life-long career that I could never have predicted.
Most of the residents there were non-verbal and those who could speak had very limited capacity. I thought, “This is impossible! I won’t be able to instruct them, communicate with them, figure out if they have a headache or other needs. How can I do this?” I learned over the course of two years that communication has very little to do with words and everything to do with establishing relationships and having a desire to communicate.
Effective communication requires only that one or more people have something they want to communicate and that there is another person or more willing to receive the message. Everything else is just a variation in delivery methods and technique. This can come in infinite forms.
This lesson was profound, and I keep learning from it in ways I never imagined now as both a professional caregiver and in my current occupation as a writer. I continuously work to develop a clear message and to find an audience willing to receive that message. When I hit barriers, I look to my past for creative ways to communicate and find a willing audience. It’s not always easy, but it is always possible.
Here is the link to the full story: http://largo.patch.com/articles/caregiving-job-changes-opera-singers-life Please give it a read, and leave a comment on the site, or just say hello!