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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question to the other INFP's out there: How do you deal with yourself knowing that there's pretty much nothing you can do to help someone?

This thread idea came to me while I was at work today. For those that aren't aware, I work with patients at their home, with the majority being elderly. Since I started back in July, I've had several patients that were depressed, generally thinking that they were going to die soon due to their age

I don't see the point in trying to give them a false sense of hope...when I myself can't predict how long they have to live...anything can happen.

:( The way I see it, to them it's like they give up trying to live, and just sit at death's door, waiting...while in excruciating pain from various afflictions, troubles in life, memories, the whole nine. It makes me feel like crap. It's easy not to ignore; they're not just patients, they're people too. :\

Eh...I think I'm being too emotional about this .-.
 

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Sometimes just being an outlet for them is the best thing you can do. Just being that young mind that is curious about the experiences, both good and bad, can give them that sense of passing something on.

There is no actual way to prevent the inevitable, but you can cushion the fall a bit by being honest and sincere. Kind of like how you were right now in your post :D.
 

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What is your work exactly? Sorry I'm scared of giving the wrong advice.

Have you tried telling them how you feel? How you worry over them?

Sometimes a little concern goes a long way.
 

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make them feel relevant by listening to them, getting them to do little things like baking or something.
 
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*hugs* I have a fairly good idea of what that feels like - to watch someone fade, to stop living and barely even exist.

Some you may never be able to touch, and it will hurt. But, there are some who with only a little bit of effort (okay, sometimes a lot bit of effort) will be able to find something to be excited or passionate about. Talk with them, find what they did when they were younger, what their hobbies were, what their favorite memories were and are. Work with them on those hobbies, act, sing, dance, create, talk, love... it does help. At the end of the day, you may be the person who cares the most for them and they will appreciate it so much more than you or they know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
What is your work exactly? Sorry I'm scared of giving the wrong advice.

Have you tried telling them how you feel? How you worry over them?

Sometimes a little concern goes a long way.
To answer your question, basically helping patients to do general things that they're otherwise unable to do by themselves due to disabilities or lacking the strength (Ie: Patient has a bad back and leg, and needs help showering themselves, or patient has hypoglycemia, has too little sugar in their system and are unable to feed themselves due to the constant involuntary shaking of their hands.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_health_aide

I figure telling them how I feel will make them feel worse, make them fall into even more despair knowing that pretty much a mere stranger is worried about them. Whenever a patient talks about dying soon, usually I say something along the lines of: "Aww, don't say that." I try to stay as neutral as I can.
 

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I considered working with that, but I came to the conclusion you are facing right now. Empathy can be a pita, we know. When my grandmother became senile, It just felt so wrong, she didn't recognize me, and didn't know what year it was. Which led to me just leaving, I couldn't handle that.

Apparently you are stronger, which I can only say that I also wish I was. You are great!

As some have said, try to see it from another perspective. You are a person that cares enough about them to actually feel bad for them.

There are two ways as I see it to handle this, one is to withdraw, and give sympathy (I'm unable to, I just can't), instead of the empathy we usually wield.

The other, is to try to make this last precious time as good as possible, and be proud of what you do. That you really are helping someone who doesn't have much time left, to be their light when theirs is about to be fade.

Someone also mentioned asking them about things they used to do, that's some great advice, reliving a bit of their life might also give you a lot. Seeing and hearing what they have done.

Regardless, cheers for being strong enough to do what you do, I know I'm not.
 
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To answer your question, basically helping patients to do general things that they're otherwise unable to do by themselves due to disabilities or lacking the strength (Ie: Patient has a bad back and leg, and needs help showering themselves, or patient has hypoglycemia, has too little sugar in their system and are unable to feed themselves due to the constant involuntary shaking of their hands.) Home care - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I figure telling them how I feel will make them feel worse, make them fall into even more despair knowing that pretty much a mere stranger is worried about them. Whenever a patient talks about dying soon, usually I say something along the lines of: "Aww, don't say that." I try to stay as neutral as I can.
How about something simple as,''I care about you'' or ''I see that you have a beautiful enduring soul in spite of it all'' ?


I'm scared of giving the wrong advice though, I'll admit that.

Sorry, I'm still pretty ignorant about certain things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How about something simple as,''I care about you'' or ''I see that you have a beautiful enduring soul in spite of it all'' ?


I'm scared of giving the wrong advice though, I'll admit that.

Sorry, I'm still pretty ignorant about certain things.
It's something that I can give a try, but can something so simple really have that much of an effect on someone who's not only older than me, but has been through way more pain than I probably will ever experience?

I know how you feel, it's a tough situation, but I know I have to push past this somehow. I'll consider any advice that I get; anything is better than nothing .-. Thanks so much everyone.
 

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To answer your question, basically helping patients to do general things that they're otherwise unable to do by themselves due to disabilities or lacking the strength (Ie: Patient has a bad back and leg, and needs help showering themselves, or patient has hypoglycemia, has too little sugar in their system and are unable to feed themselves due to the constant involuntary shaking of their hands.) Home care - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I figure telling them how I feel will make them feel worse, make them fall into even more despair knowing that pretty much a mere stranger is worried about them. Whenever a patient talks about dying soon, usually I say something along the lines of: "Aww, don't say that." I try to stay as neutral as I can.
Might I say, as a person with disabilities, I totally hope I get an INFP aide when the day comes... :wink:

The main problem with saying, "Don't talk that way" is that you're sort of invalidating their feelings. It depends on what kind of emotions they're speaking with. If they're sad about it, try getting them to talk about their accomplishments (kids, school, career, etc). If they're worried, maybe talk about different belief systems and afterlives (without saying which you believe in, if any). Some people do better with distractions, like Refugee mentioned, as long as they're useful distractions. Each person responds to death differently and you have to use empathy to figure out how to respond. I can't imagine how hard it is, though; not sure if I could manage it.
 

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I make a goal that'll allow me to be able to help them when I achieve that goal. Whether itbe waiting the time trials of their lives out, giving them an outlet so they can continue continuing with whatever burden is uncontrollable, or even being a friend. That's what I do. If it's making people feel good, I can achieve that very, very easily by including them in a conversation I'm barely taking part in, or just asking how their day was while going one on one (while keeping true to staying positive so they don't go down with the negative spark). I do it when I feel I should, though. At any rate, none of us are useless because all of us have strengths!
 
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Sounds like you care a great deal about the people you work with so, that in itself probably relieves them more than you can imagine. Like others have said, just be open and listen, really listen to them, which sounds like you are. Ask them about their lives, stories that they are proud of and love telling. Oh, and humor goes aloooong way. Laughter is a great stress reliever... easier said than done when dealing with depression in people but worth it. Good luck.
 

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It's something that I can give a try, but can something so simple really have that much of an effect on someone who's not only older than me, but has been through way more pain than I probably will ever experience?

I know how you feel, it's a tough situation, but I know I have to push past this somehow. I'll consider any advice that I get; anything is better than nothing .-. Thanks so much everyone.
Never underestimate what a simple but completely sincere gesture like,''I care about you'' can do for someone :happy:
 
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