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Kindness and Caregiving
Cathy Nickse

By: Cathy Nickse on March 17th, 2016

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Kindness and Caregiving

Aging & Caregiving

kindness and caregiving Recently, a UMH colleague sent me a weekly online newsletter focusing on kindness, and I began to reflect upon the uplifting power of kindness.  I know that I want my life to be a reflection and offering of kindness to those I know and love, to those who are acquaintances, and even to random strangers.  I want to live in a world where kindness is the philosophy of life.  We each have an opportunity every day to show many acts of kindness through words and through deeds.

Kindness – The Difference it Makes

The fact is, kindness makes a huge positive difference in our homes and in our communities, as well as in ourselves.  Most people remember acts of kindness (and unkindness) for a long time, sometimes for life.  This makes acts of kindness ever so important.  Showing kindness can become quite contagious and has a big impact on ourselves and others.  When we show even a small act of kindness to another person, they may in turn “pay it forward”.  When our acts of kindness inspire others to be kind, it can actually create a ripple effect that spreads outward to touch many others’ lives well beyond the original giver.

Kindness makes a huge difference in our UMH communities, and it’s truly heartwarming to witness the frequent acts of kindness.  Many times, I hear the story of how one of our residents helped a new resident feel so warmly welcomed and at home.  Then when this new resident is feeling at home, the gift is passed on to yet another new resident, who likewise is warmly welcomed.  Many times I hear about how one resident gave help to another and it made such a difference.  I notice how one person’s encouraging word so often has made someone else’s day.

What Kindness Means for Caregivers

Let’s face it.  Sometimes we may feel like our own sense of loss, or pain, or difficulty is so great that we can’t possibly offer kindness, much less be generous with it. This can be especially true for caregivers. Managing a loved one’s care is a big job that leaves little time and energy leftover for yourself and others. However, when we show others kindness we experience a positive effect as well.  Being kind makes us happy.  Research on kindness reveals that kindness gives us healthier hearts, slows aging and makes for better relationships.  Kindness begets a joy that is palpable.

Giving Kindness Away

We may think that it’s up to someone else to show us kindness first.  God is the one who shows us unlimited kindness, even if we find that others do not.  When we live our days with hearts open to see and receive God’s loving kindness toward us, we can then begin to generously give that love and kindness away.  Simple acts of kindness, though sometimes quite small, can make a big difference in someone’s life.  Even small gestures of kindness have the power to change someone’s life for the better. Do you know an older adult who could use some kindness? Or perhaps there is a caregiver in your life who could use an act of kindness as well? A simple smile, a sincere compliment, a hug or an offer to help someone else can really make another person’s day.  Truly, the sky is the limit when it comes to kindness.  How will you be kind today?

~ Chaplain Cathy

About Cathy Nickse

I joined the UMH family in July of 2015 and work as the Coordinator of Spiritual Care for our Wesley Village Campus, offering guidance and support to our residents, families, and staff. I began my Chaplain training at Griffin Hospital in Derby and completed my Chaplain training as a Resident Chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital in May of 2015. I work closely with members of the local community of faith to meet the spiritual needs of our residents; cultivating relationships, and ministering to the body, mind, and spirit.

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