Attention-spans are declining – mine too! When I lose focus after intense periods of concentration, I start flitting from one thing to the next. Sometimes, Facebook offers momentary relief. Other times, I muse about assorted things like I did as a stressed-out caregiver juggling life and care for my father with Alzheimer’s.
While social media platforms like Facebook give caregivers and people with dementia an opportunity to connect, danger lurks below the surface if we sail quickly through mounds of information. This applies to other areas of our lives as well.
Are you a skimmer?
Every now and then, someone on Facebook posts an invitation to their friends to read their message until the end. Usually, it’s to raise awareness about cancer, depression, or dementia, such as this one posted on behalf of an American friend by Canadian, Phyllis Fehr, who also lives with dementia.
In the most difficult moments of life, you realize who your true friends are and who really appreciate you. Unfortunately, most “friendships” are not real. They leave you in difficult times and always send you an “I love you,” or “praying for you” in your publications, but do not take time to actually read the post. I have decided to publish this message in support of a very special person for me who fights constantly in a tough battle…
Everyone says, “If you need something, do not hesitate to call me” or “I’ll be there to help you.” So, I’ll make a bet that most of those who saw this post… and maybe even read all the way to the end… still will not follow the instructions… if you really read this post, write “done” in the comments below. Thank you!
How many people read to the end? How many people followed instructions?
Of the 16 comments, including my own, less than half of us followed her instructions. However, most of us likely read her entire post.
Typically, people want to be connected but don’t have time to read everything. They skim their friends’ heartfelt notes, requests for donations, other updates, and click mostly on the thumbs-up “Like” with a few heart-shaped “Loves.
Unless you’ve read the entire message, how do you know what you’re responding to?
Take Time to Read Everything Until the End
Whether reading social media updates or legal documents, agreements, and contracts, how do we know what we’re replying to or signing unless we read to the end. Letting our busy lives get in the way of due diligence means we’ll spend many more stressful hours, days, weeks, and even months trying to undo what we did in haste.
The Caregiver’s Voice has posted articles that people liked and even loved on Facebook, simply because [blushing here] they like us. Yet, we know that some segments of our diverse readership may find parts of our content in conflict with their beliefs. On one occasion when I reached out to a prominent reader, I immediately saw one less show of love with a message, “Thank you for looking out for me.”
OOPS! Long Term Care Doesn’t Cover This?
Your parent signs up for a long-term care plan. The salesperson is sweet and her smile makes it easy to sign the document. Your dad needs assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) and wants to remain in his home. You discover the one thing this plan doesn’t cover is in-home care.
With the amount of information coming at us each day, we struggle to find time or energy to read as much as possible. We don’t want to miss anything. Yet we suffer cognitive indigestion with all we consume.
Don’t Get Bit by What Lies Below
Take time to read everything before you sign or take other action.
With any legal document or agreement, take your time. If you feel any pressure, take a break. If necessary, gather up the documents. Bring them home where you can comfortably review, write notes in the margins, and get answers, before signing.
As for social media, use it responsibly. No need to like or love everything because you trust the person. Take time to read what you react to. If you don’t have the time, don’t respond. Or be honest and write as I sometimes do, “While I was only able to listen to the first five minutes of your podcast, I did read your summary article… “