Saturday, October 19, 2013

Making People Happy

I have learned from my job that you can't make everyone happy.  Sometimes, you have to allow someone to be upset with you in order to benefit the most people.  With so many different residents to provide activities for, there is always times when someone is not going to like what you have planned.  When it is someone who is very opinionated and vocal, it can be very disheartening and frustrating to hear complaints.  There are times I have to remind residents I work with that there are other people in the building and we have to provide a variety of groups and services.
As with residents, there are times when I have to do something that makes my boys unhappy to make things better for the good of all.  Once I became comfortable with the fact that there are times what I decide won't make some people happy, it became easier to make those decisions at home too.  Sometimes, especially as a Mom, you have to be the bad guy.
This seems like an easy lesson, but for someone who likes to make people happy, and that essentially is my job, acquiring that thick skin took me a while.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Savor it

With my boys, there are times when I just wish I could capture that moment and keep it to review later in the same crispness of the present time.  Or to be able to visit that moment again.  Looking back on when the boys were infants, I often think that I would love to go back to that time when they were itty-bitty, just for a day.  It was crazy, sleep deprived and wonderful.  But we can't revisit them.  All we have are our memories of it.  I know that many of the older people I work with at the nursing home, spend a lot of time remembering the past.  I often think that I have to really focus to make those memories so that when I am old I can sit and think fondly of the things that happened in my life.  There are times you have to think about the moment and focus on it, to make it into a memory.  If we don't remind ourselves of the good times we may not remember them. 
Memories are not made watching TV or playing on the computer.  We make family memories from our experiences.  Camping trips, playing in the rain, hiking etc, are all moments to remember.  Both memories for us as parents, but also for the kids to look back on and think about the fun they had.  Maybe when I am old and forgetful, they can visit me and remind me of those wonderful family experiences.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Horrible news....

There have been a lot of horrific events on the news over the past year.  I am thinking of Newton, and Boston and even the Oklahoma tornadoes.  Television stations play the coverage of these events continuously.   I find myself wanting to shield both my young children and the senior population from the endless barrage of bed news and terror.   My children, we just don't watch the news at home, and we try to completely shield them from seeing any of it.  The boys are young and can't understand, and question and worry and have bad dreams.  The know there are bad guys in the world, but I don't want them to worry that someone will shoot them at school.  They aren't looking at the world through rose colored glasses, but they don't need to be exposed to everything yet. There is plenty of time for that.
At work, some of the older people need to get away from all the negative drama.  I often ask the staff to turn off the TVs whenever possible and not talk about it with or in front of our resident with dementia.  These residents can not always distinguish between their own reality and what had happened elsewhere in the world.  They may worry about their children and their safety.  Other residents just need a break as well.  Watching negative TV all day can be very depressing for anyone.  We always encourage people to turn off the TV and to say a prayer for the people and for the helpers and first responders.  We try to channel their worry into something positive.  Its OK to encourage residents to turn off the TV and get out of their rooms.  Plan a fund raiser to help.  Anything to help them turn the negative into a positive for them and let them feel that they are somehow helping make things better.  Because really, isn't that what we all want to do?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Celebrate Life

Today a family member gave her mother (one of our residents) a "Celebration of Life" party.  Her mother, is declining.  When the daughter and the mother were discussing death and all that it entails, funerals etc, the mother stated she wants to be a part of the party.  Hence today's event.  It was a lot of fun and the mom and daughter, both had a great time and enjoyed themselves.  Celebrating someone's life when they are still alive doesn't happen that often.  But why not.  We need to let our elders know how much they are loved and appreciated when they are still with us.  Actually, we need to do that for everyone who is special to us; no matter what the age.  We all know that life is short and can be taken away from us at any time.  Celebrate life when your elderly loved one is still alive to celebrate, and feel loved and special.  She may be gone tomorrow.     

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bad Behavior

What do you do when the behavior of one person upsets another?  At my facility we had an incident where a resident with increased confusion was yelling at staff and calling them racial slurs and other derogatory names.  This resident has had a pretty quick cognitive decline and until recently has not been this belligerent and vocal.  Until recently, she was a relatively social woman who participated in many activities.  Her daughters visit her several times a week.  When she had this recent very public outburst, another resident who is a very social, cognitively active black woman, witness part of it.  She was deeply offended and took the words being said pretty personal, though they were not directed at her.
When she came to me obviously upset, I really could not offer her any comfort.  I tried to explain to her that the resident yelling is sick and it is her illness that is causing her to say such things.  And there are times when, though we would like to, we can not change a person’s behavior.    Just because you are in a nursing home, you are not sheltered from or immune to, the ugly in the world. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Good bye to our young friends

At my facility we are lucky to have a wonderful day care center less than a block away. For several years, we have teamed up with the pre-K class for intergenerational visits.  Because the daycare works on a school type schedule, the same children remain in the classes from September to August each year.  This year the Pre-K class was able to visit us every two weeks.  With the same children coming to visit each time, we have been able to watch them grow, and to watch the relationships between our seniors and the children grow and bloom as well.   We have watched their hesitation and fear of the elderly and visiting a nursing home, melt away.  After only a couple of visits, the kids realize the residents here are just older people who happen to need a wheelchair, and visiting a nursing home can be fun.  Each time they come to visit us, the children run to their special older friends.  They all have certain residents that they have bonded with and look forward to seeing each time they come. 
The teacher and I take turns deciding on what projects the group will be doing each week.  We have done everything from rock painting for the garden, to show and tell, with both children and seniors showing and sharing their treasured items.  (This event was especially popular).  Next week is our last visit as the children in this class will be moving off to kindergarten.  We are planning a good bye picnic with the senior and children sharing a meal in the garden (decorated with beautiful rocks).   It will be bittersweet to say good bye to this group of kids.  They have won a special place in the hearts of many seniors.  Several of the children have asked me if they could come visit after their class is done.  What a wonderful testament to the bond they have formed with their older friends! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update on Chloe...

My wonderful dog Chloe, is getting old, and it is starting to show.  She is nearly 14 now.  If we go by the thought that 1 dog year is equal to 7 human years, she would be close to 98 years old.   For the past year or so, we have noticed that she is slowing down and not enjoying the things she use to.  But just lately, her age is really become evident.  She is having hip problems and stumbles at times.  Occasionally her back leg entirely gives out and she falls.  She seems surprised when this happens.  She has also fallen part way down the stairs because of it.  All of these is very sad to watch.  It really breaks my heart.  This is the dog who hiked miles up mountians with us.  Who always went camping and loved it. 
The other day we put her outside to do her business in the morning and she disappeared.  She was discovered hours later in one of our neighbors' garage.  I honestly think that she might have wandered away and not been able to find her way home. I think she has doggy dementia.  She will often stand still in one spot and stare at the floor of the wall for long periods of time.  Or, the other extreme, wander around the house in circles, like she doesn't know what to do.  This restlessness, added with her staggering when her hip gives out, really puts me on edge.   To complicate matters  she seems to no longer be able to hear much at all.  And she has cataracts in both eyes.  Old age is the pits, even for dogs. 
The medicine the vet gave us for her hips, seems to be making her sick.  She has had diarrhea several times this week, only at night, and only when sleeping in the boys room.  Thank goodness we have a carpet cleaning vacuum!  Chloe has really made sure we got our money's worth this week.  So now she is off the new medicine, and we'll see what happens.  I am cooking rice and plain chicken for her.  The vet said a bland diet.  Chloe seems to be a bit picky about it though.  She is leaving a lot of the rice behind.  I may have to switch to pasta instead.  A girl after my own heart!