Life in Times of Crisis
We would never be able to appreciate the bliss of good days if we never experienced the misery of bad ones. This often gets magnified at ceremonies like graduations where all the sleepless nights have finally paid off and are being recognized. At marriages where couples look back to the path they went through to finally be able to say “I do.” At the wake of a loved one where memories are reminisced. Even now when we think of the good old days where we didn’t worry and just enjoyed the outdoors with loved ones pre-pandemic. It takes contrast, for both to exist in our lives, so we could appreciate it more.
In life, we go through a series of crises. Whether big or small, at that moment, it felt like the world to us. At that point in time, there was nothing else but us and a big wall with bricks of worry, misery, and anxiety blocking the way. How we overcome that wall adds up to who we are in the next phase. Each hurdle we overcome gives us added experience in this journey we call life.
While it’s hard enough to deal with our personal crisis, there are people who have to deal with more than just theirs. People like direct support professionals, address their clients’ crises on top of theirs. The job they do takes a lot of understanding and patience, two things that not a lot of people possess in high capacities. When their life revolves around caring and supporting the developmentally disabled 24/7, such events are inevitable. They go through the good and bad days together.
In their line of work, crisis according to service manager Jamarr Coles (who also worked as a direct support professional) is “something that’s presenting a risk, that causes harm to oneself and others, and that is out of the norm.” Our direct support professionals are trained to deal with these types of situations. They know when and how to advert the crisis by redirecting the situation before it progresses. Prior to that, part of 1st Choice Family Services is the workforce management that does an important task. They contact direct support professionals before their shift starts and tell them about their client’s state so they come mentally prepared for whatever the situation is.
”With that they actually have the ability to say “hey it’s going to be a good day today the client is in a happy mood” or ‘you know what? I have to focus because the client is on edge” so they are informed of what’s going on so they adjust their rapport”
Usually, when we are experiencing a crisis, we look for someone to rely on, someone to share our thoughts and feelings with, someone we look up to that can give us a piece of their wisdom. These people are usually our family members and close friends. They are our leaders, the people that guide us when we feel lost and the ones who are there to truly care. That is exactly who our direct support professionals are to their clients. With the amount of time they have spent together, the countless memories they have shared, they are basically like family. And like Stitch would say, “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”
Our direct support professionals take on the role of leaders who not just guide their clients but more on walk through life beside them. As they fulfill that role, who fills in that spot for them? Our direct support professionals have service managers who do an equally amazing job. Their leadership is unlike any other. They don’t just talk and teach everybody what to do, they help out on the field in ways they can with the experience that they have.
“Everything isn’t just talk. There are things that as a service manager, you end up teaching somebody through conversation that you may not know that they were struggling with.”
In the case of one client, Trevor, he is a very introverted individual and likes to keep to himself. People tend to have a hard time getting him out of the house and oftentimes just choose not to because he will automatically say no whenever asked. Jamarr, having worked with Trevor, knows exactly how to get him out.
“With my experience, I am actually able to give them techniques on how to get Trevor out of the house and do things. That’s one way as a service manager, my experience is what actually helps out a lot of times. I can give that advice to someone else who can then, in turn, give it to someone else who needs it.”
The simple advice he gave to a direct support professional that he knows Trevor is a very helpful person even though he is a loner has greatly helped whoever took care of him as well. They can get him to go outside of the house by saying they need him to help with something there. So instead of saying “no”, Trevor says “yes” because he loves helping people and his mindset is now on helping someone as opposed to going out which he doesn’t want to do.
The leadership developed and practiced here at 1st Choice has created a system where everyone has someone to lean on especially in times of trouble. We have to realize that success and progress is often preceded by struggles and failure. So when in crisis, we have to strive and do our best to overcome it and that is much easier to do with people who are there to support us unconditionally. Remember, there are people willing to give you a hand so heed their advice, find comfort in their company, and go through the hardships together. Soon enough you’ll see its end and that ending is usually the start of something beautiful.