Before I go into this, I would like to say hello! My name is Mary Joyce, but most people call me “MJ”. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta in Human Ecology, majoring in Family Ecology and minoring in Community Nutrition. I am currently doing my practicum with R&R Care for my last term in the program. My practicum supervisor is Loana, and I am delighted and grateful for this wonderful opportunity to experience a whole new world outside of school!
In this completely new world, certain values were embodied by each person.
Care. Compassion. Comfort.—three simple words with the most significant impact on their own and as a whole. Let me show you what I mean…
Care. This word alone brings memories that range from those related to our parents, to grandparents, to friends, and so on. Caring is something that we naturally do whenever we talk to a loved one on the phone or share moments of silence with them just to be still for a second in our hectic lives. There is always at least some level of care that we feel for those we encounter at any point in time.
Compassion. Being present for, and in the moment with someone. Lending an ear to someone who needs to talk. Smiling at someone you had simply walked passed. Holding the door open for someone. Lending a hand to someone who’s struggling to walk. Giving a hug when words aren’t enough. Compassion is a way that one person reminds the other that they are enough.
Comfort. Food. Drinks. A warm blanket. A couch. A night in with friends/family. Home. Sometimes, we need time to recuperate till we face the next obstacle ahead.
All together. Having all three serve to enhance the overall well-being of a person. Some people might need just care, compassion, or comfort to get by, but there are others that need all three. For instance, there are people that cannot explain the predicament that they find themselves in, but find a sense of hope from someone simply being there, lending an ear and a shoulder to cry on, and a place for them to let go of their troubles. In that situation alone, all three were present. That makes all the difference in the world for that person.
On my first day at the R&R Care on the 23rd of December, I sat and observed as the staff actively tailored the day program to the emotional and social needs of individuals involved. They care. Genuinely care. They are also compassionate, and ensure that there is a general sense of comfort.
Acknowledging each person by their name, asking about their day, encouraging every one of them to tell their stories, asking about their favourite music, and showing them what else they are capable of that they might otherwise dismiss because they’ve either forgotten or weren’t aware. So. Simple. These are things that we normally do with those that we care for, whether we realize it or not. It’s hard to not notice what a difference each act makes to someone’s day.
I have seen these incredible individuals laugh, talk, get frustrated and then get through it, and smile. It’s only been about four weeks, and already I am seeing them thrive. I am learning so much from my supervisor, the rest of the staff, and the clients, and I am both nervous and excited to embark on this journey with them over the next three months.
More to come… Stay tuned!