Care assistants and mirror neurons – the science base for caring
I always enjoy teaching Eden to the so-called care assistants, women of all ages who are the most important caregivers in many nursing homes, often they have little status and struggle to sustain their families on their low pay. They are considered „untrained“, even the youngest nurse is a better „thinker“, so the assumption, better able to provide „good“ care.
This time – after re-reading the book* below, I was able to give the care assistants the neuroscientific evidence base for caring and the genuine concern they have for the old people they care for. A caring attitude and genuine caring are “contagious“. Mirror neurons, that is watching someone’s caring actions, recruits the same neural structure as actually giving care. Observing good care leads to good care, empathy and love activate regions in the right brain.
Good care can change the whole world for older people who receive it and it is a wonderful role model for newcomers into care.
The care assistants were very interested in hearing that there was a science base to their everyday work. Maybe the walked out a little bit prouder of what they are doing, into the cool winter afternoon, home to their loved ones, preparing for Christmas.
I wish all the readers to take time for feelings, love and empathy over Christmas. I will be back on this blog on January 12th, 2009.
Frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!
*Damasio, A.R. (1994) Descartes’ Error: Emotion,
Reason and the Human Brain, Putnam