We are living in a time where interruptions and distractions are the norm. People have conversations with someone directly in front of them without looking up from the phone in their hands. Headphones are perfectly acceptable in public as we listen to music instead of the world around us. The outcome of this very busy, multi-tasking lifestyle that dominates the 21st century, is chaotic.

I feel we sometimes overlook the impact of so much going on at once.

Not long ago, I happened upon a resident who was having a difficult day. He was in pain due to his condition, and fearful of his caregivers. His anxiety was as high as I’ve ever seen it. Although someone was sitting with him to reassure and hold his hand, he kept saying ‘please don’t leave me’, and ‘stay here’. He was confused by the nurses attending to his medical needs, and didn’t understand why he was sore as caregivers were helping him along. It’s an understatement to say that the room had a lot going on at once.

Then I noticed that the news was on the TV. And, as we all know, the news is far from ‘uplifting’ these days. The stories, the violence, the politics- it’s all a bit much to handle for those of us who are not elderly, infirmed, or cognitively challenged- so imagine how it is for them!?

Taking the remote, I found a channel that plays only acoustic, soothing ‘spa music’ if you will. The impact on the room and situation was felt right away. The resident became calmer and more cooperative and there was an overall lightening of spirit. The background noise had only served to heighten the tension and indirectly was having an impact on the resident.

By changing the channel and slowing things down, the room that had previously been upsetting for all involved was transformed into a calm and soothing place.

Take some time to notice the background when you visit your loved one. It may be having more impact than you think.

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