Failure Isn’t Bad!

Today’s insight discusses how failure isn’t bad. Mistakes are great learning opportunities. Learn from a couple of mine.

Transcription of Video:

Hi, I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

Today, I want to talk about failure. I have had some spectacular failures. It seems like every time I come over to Arthur’s, I make a mistake in one way or another, but these are great learning opportunities.

One day, I was having a great conversation with one of our clients on the couch. She and I were having a wonderful time together. She was holding my hand, and stroking my hair. She was nurturing me as she would have nurtured her children and we were having such a nice visit and enjoying one another so much.

I said, “Let’s take our picture today” and I held up my phone and took a picture of us sitting together. (Picture appears on screen) You can see the picture here. This is us having a really good time together.

But when I showed her the picture, she said, “No! No! No! No!” You see, she didn’t see herself as the old lady in the picture; that wasn’t how she envisioned herself. It could be that she was time-traveling, as we call it — that she thought of herself as being younger than she was in the picture. Or that she thought of herself as being happier.

Another spectacular failure that I made one time was trying to calm and soothe and placate a woman with dementia who was very angry. She was very upset, and by my trying to be soothing with her, her reaction was to reach out and smack me on my hand. She didn’t need me to be soothing — what she needed was for me to be empathetic. She wanted me to acknowledge her anger and, clearly, if I’m calm, I’m not getting the message.

The approach that worked was to say, “you’re really upset about that, aren’t you?” and to have my face demonstrate that she was really upset. Then she was able to get over it and we could distract her to get her on to something more positive.

So, if you’ve failed a lot of times in one day, I would recommend that you try to change your appearance a little bit the next time you approach your loved one. Maybe you could put your hair up in a ponytail or add a cap or change your sweater because they’re going to remember, emotionally, the person that they’re mad at. If you can change your appearance a little bit, you might get a fresh start.

Make sure as you come back into the room (takes deep breath and exhales) that your approach is positive.

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798