So very True - Image by Anne Taintor

So very True - Image by Anne Taintor
I would like this on my very own business cards

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Odd Moments in Assisted Living

Working for the last few months in assisted living has really provided me with insight into the aging process and I have gained a deeper compassion for people.  Especially for the caregivers that I work with on a daily basis.  I have needed to fill in on the floor a few times when staff hasn't shown up for a shift.  That was really difficult for me the first time I did it.  I have no experience in it whatsoever!  It opened my eyes to what the caregivers provide to others on a regular basis.  These amazing people help others with basic tasks that I take for granted such as putting on my socks and shoes and even using the restroom alone.  I am in awe of the kindness and caring that caregivers need to exhibit.  I am also in awe of the grace that they must exhibit continually.  

Happy moments occur regularly.  We were playing bean bag toss and clapping when someone scored 100 points.  Another women who has dementia and was sitting nearby, started giggling and shouted out "Oh Delicious!"  If I ever get dementia, I hope I am as happy as her.  She is usually smiling and laughing.  Maybe she doesn't always know what is going on but at least she is happy.  That is what I want too.  

I have gotten used to being asked my name often.  I always wear my name tag and remind people it is ok for them to ask me and if they can't remember just look at the name tag.  It is my job to remember their names but they don't need to remember mine.  I will even answer to "Hey you."  I suppose that is because I grew up in a large family so not being called by name is no big deal.

Today I took a group of residents out to lunch at the VFW for Veteran's Day.  It was so nice to get to know them outside of my regular job role.  I made a comment about working and one of the residents looked right at me and said "Where do you work?"  The other residents had a laugh when I responded with "Where you live.  I work at your house."  

One day I was helping an older gentleman in the restroom.  While I was assisting him on the toilet he asked me if I was married.  That really surprised me as toilet conversation.  Another time I was walking through the hallway and saying "hello" to residents that I passed.  One woman yelled out in a booming voice "Boy, she sure has a big butt!"  What do you say to that?  You can't exactly turn around and say something in response.  So you suck it up even though it would have been nice to say "You wet your pants."   

Even with my experience in government work nothing could have prepared me for the daily interactions I experience with residents.  I am used to defusing anger and tempers that involve property rights.  That is a hard thing to do.  Making people happy is nothing like that.  It is rather rewarding.  I go to work smiling and go home smiling (although sometimes I may be muttering a retort under my breath).

This is the first drawing I created using my new Bamboo tablet and pen.  Maybe my drawings are a bit crude but it is so much faster than drawing with the mouse tracking pad on my laptop.

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