In any caregiving situation, there are four basic guidelines to help ensure that you offer loved ones the attention and support that they need. The caregiving basics are: Listen, Pray, Respect the Grief Process and Preserve the Dignity.
What do we see as we care for a person who is suffering? Do you see that person as a burden, an irritation, an interruption, or an old needy person? As caregivers–whether we are caring for a co-worker who is going through a divorce, or a friend who has cancer, or caring-full-time for a spouse or parent–we need to remember that the person is first of all a child created by God. That person bears the image of God, and we need to preserve that person’s dignity (self-respect).
Some starting suggestions on how to “Preserve the Dignity” of another person:
1. Remember that each person is created by God and in some mysterious way God dwells in each person. Jesus said, “When (and what) you do to the least of these, you do it to me.”
2. Each person is a real person with thoughts, feelings, struggles, dreams and experiences.
3. Treat the person as you would want to be treated if you were in his or her specific situation. (Golden Rule)