Empathy and sympathy appear similar, but it is critical for home caregivers to recognize the distinction. Sympathy is appropriate in some cases, but it is empathy that generates the healthiest solutions within the dynamic between a caregiver and a client.
Empathy operates in a different way; it is a skill that fosters connection and can bring people together. Empathy is taking another person’s perspective, listening without judgment, responding to the other person’s emotions, and communicating that you understand the other person’s emotions.
Three Ways to Develop Empathy as a Home Caregiver:
1. Take a pause. We are often caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, which can cause us to miss critical nuances and not listen to the best of our abilities. When faced with a difficult caring chore, pause for a moment to ponder before making a choice. Taking five deep breaths before reacting is a wonderful method to develop a habit of behavior. This is a grounding technique that will allow for clear thinking.
2. Pay attention and absorb. Listening is an excellent starting point for empathy, but comprehension is also required to be truly supportive. It is difficult to take the right course of action if caregivers listen but do not grasp what is being expressed. If caregivers do not understand something their clients are communicating, they can acquire clarity by asking questions, conducting research, and checking in with the home care organization.
3. Change your point of view. It can be difficult at times to put oneself in the shoes of others, but it is necessary for providing effective home care services. There may be things you would never have considered based on your own life experiences. Always try to see things from the client’s perspective, even if it differs greatly from your own, so that you can better grasp each situation.