One thing that I noticed while visiting my mom at the nursing home every day; few people have visitors. It's sad. These folks have been abandoned, put into a holding pen while they wait for their turn with the Grim Reaper.
I noticed something else while visiting; the people in the nursing home are far from dead. I've gotten to know the residents. Those who can ambulate on their own, follow me; I wonder if it's because I always come with ice cream or cookies. Treats put a smile on their faces and gives them something to look forward to every day.
Rarely do I understand what the resident is chattering about but I make believe I know. I give general answers. I use expression. A smile or laughter is the sign that the memory challenged individual feels satisfied. Someone listened to them, someone answered their cry; it was easy with the only cost being time.
I love all the residents where my mom is living. I have my favorites; Bob, Ruth, Jean, Mary and Caroline are the tops. Bob worked with my dad, they were work friends. Ruth reminds me of a little girl; she listens to everything and laughs at the right times. Jean is a joy, she loves to jump up and dance. Mary, she is sweet, always telling me not to worry about all of them so much because it will end up killing me. She worries that I'll die and not be able to visit. Carol is my mom's roommate, she doesn't talk much. I give her a little Reiki every day to help ease her pain. She rewards me with a smile or a big "God Bless You!"
Nursing homes are understaffed. I'm learning the hard way what it means to have sufficient care hours for each patient. Care hours is what to look for when searching for a nursing home for someone that you love. I didn't find a home with enough care hours; my biggest regret.
I visit the home twice a day in the morning and in the evening. I walk my mom. I listen to her hallucinations and give her answers. Sometimes on a good day I take her out for a ride to Whole Foods. I wheel her around in her chair, she holds a little basket in her lap for the items that she selects. Shopping makes her happy; greetings by the store employees makes her smile.
Once folks go to a home, it's not the end; they need their families and friends more than ever. Someone needs to watch out for them from the outside. Someone needs to make sure that the individual isn't a victim of abuse. It takes vigilance and it's the main reason why visiting nursing homes is crucial to the health and safety of the people we love.
Have you visited a nursing home lately or are you full of excuses why you can't?