Take Pride in the Process
by Stephanie “Teffie” Landmann, COTA/L,
PAC Support Mentor, Coach, and Trainer
We all have routines in our lives. For my dad one of the routines was rolling up the garden hose. Which means it had to be coiled up neatly and put on the special hook on the side of the house. In my teenage years my brother and I could tell if it was going to be a good day or a tough day. If one of us left the garden hose a mess in the yard we would hear about it all day long, sometimes into the next day.
My brother and I had various chores like sweep the walkway, mow the yard, water the garden, check the tire pressure on the car, and various other things. Being typical teenagers, we approached these chores with a cavalier attitude.
Can’t we hire someone to mow the yard? It’s not my garden. The tires look good to me.
We also didn’t understand the routine of it. Mow the yard on Fridays, but why Fridays? The garden had to be watered every other day unless we got rain. The walkway had to be swept every day, but isn’t that what the welcome mat is for, to wipe off your dirty shoes? And how does the air keep getting out of the tires?
Later I came to understand the routine behind it all. Mow on Fridays so the yard looks best on the weekend. Water the garden so that the plants look good in full bloom. Sweep the walkway so that there is less dirt tracked in or on the mat. Oh, and the tires well they can lose air from a change in temperature or general wear and tear of driving. More than that, I came to understand the routine of how to do each chore. The last part of doing any of these tasks is to put stuff away. It showed that a certain amount of thought and pride was equal to the final step of cleaning up. If you cleaned up after yourself, you had done the chore well. If you didn’t clean up well then you just didn’t care.
I see you watered the garden today; you know that chore is not done till the garden hose is rolled up and put away. My dad would say to us, You want the neighbors to think we are a bunch of slobs?
Of course, being a teenager, it didn’t matter to us what the neighbors thought. What did matter was that it was a part of dad’s routine. He wanted chores and tasks done right the first time.
Now, as an adult, I’ve started to notice my own routines. The dishwasher must be loaded a certain way, towels folded a certain way, and my bed is made every day. All because dishes need to be in a certain place, so they all get clean, towels look better folded in the same pattern, and I like my bed made so that at night it looks inviting. What routines do you find in your life? Are you with me on the dishes in the dishwasher?
Imagine what happens when another person tries to help me with my chores? When they are not looking, I will rearrange the dishwasher, refold the towels, and well, sorry, you can’t use my bed, it’s already been made.
What if I have early dementia or I’m in a Diamond State?
The pots and pan do not go on the top rack. Have you ever loaded a dishwasher before? Don’t fold the towels that way and make the bed. Do you leave your house this messy?
What if I am in an assisted living or a skilled nursing home?
They don’t do the dishes, look at the mess on the side of the plates. Who put those towels there? That is not how I fold them. I’m not going to breakfast; the bed hasn’t been made.
What can we do as professionals to help our folks out? For me it would be to take notice and pay attention to their routines. Make sure we are completing our tasks all the way through to the final step. What would be part of your routine? What routines have you noticed are important for folks where you work?
And if my dad is around, please make sure the garden hose is rolled up properly.