Monday, May 3, 2010

Crucial Conversations #3

Interdependence at its best is healthy symbiosis. When I went looking for a definition of symbiosis I learned that a better term for my purposes is mutualism. According to Wikipedia

"mutualism" describes any relationship between individuals of different species where both individuals derive a benefit.[11] …Many biologists restrict the definition of symbiosis to close mutualist relationships….for example…an Egyptian Plover picking the teeth of a Nile crocodile…and a large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut fauna that help them digest plant matter, which is more difficult to digest than animal prey.[7] Coral reefs are the result of mutualisms between coral organisms and various types of algae that live inside them.[12] Most land plants and land ecosystems rely on mutualisms between the plants, which fix carbon from the air, and mycorrhyzal fungi, which help in extracting minerals from the ground.[13]

I love this kind of information! I also love that mutualism describes caregiving at its best---everybody thriving. For sure I know that many times the person I was caring for felt like a different species from me!

Mutualism is a great goal. It is also a craft. Requires shared disclosure and trust built over time.

Like any craft, having a teacher can be invaluable.

I think that this is one of the services that geriatric care managers can provide: working with all the parties to craft interdependence/symbiosis/mutualism.

As I write this I remember people like Anthony and Dan and Rich and Michael and David among others who insisted that we work out from the getgo what I was getting out of the relationship.

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