Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gratitude Day 4: Caring Nursing Home Staff

Today I am thankful for the staff at the nursing home who take such good care of Steve's Mom. Today at our 4-H Achievement Banquet a friend stopped me to ask about Steve's Mom and what food she likes and will eat, and can eat since she doesn't have all her teeth.  She's a long-time family friend who recently started working in the kitchen at Mom's nursing home, and she is just so concerned that his Mom just picks at most foods and rejects a lot of it.  Everyone at the nursing home is working hard to keep her eating and healthy, though she doesn't make it easy for them.  

I know that her Alzheimer's disease has also made her natural stubbornness more intense, but they know when to push her, and when to back off.  Our friend told me the other day Mom refused to go take a shower, so the nurse left her alone for awhile.  Then she came in and got all Mom's shower supplies and clean clothes and took them to the bathroom.  Next, she invited Mom to take a walk, and managed to get her showered without any difficulty.  I'm so thankful she took the time to work with Steve's Mom rather than getting into a battle of wills with her.

They're understanding and tolerant even though she removes her belongings and clothes from the closet and all her pictures from the wall on a regular basis because she's "moving out".  They just sneak in and put it away occasionally, knowing she'll just start over the very next day.  

Mom is in the best place for her right now, even though she gets mad about being "told what to do" and having to stick to their meal schedule.  Her memory loss means she doesn't remember how often we do visit, so she thinks she "never sees anyone" ... but at least she is able to go down the hall to visit with other residents, which she does on a daily basis.  The small size of this nursing home means the nurses have time to work with her rather than pushing her, because they are not stressed or rushed by the needs of an overwhelming number of seniors.

But mostly, it is a relief to know she is safe.  She's being fed well and gaining weight.  She's getting her medications at the right time and in the right doses.  She's not going to wander away and be lost.  She's not going to start a fire in the kitchen.  She's not going to eat spoiled foods or eat off of dirty plates anymore.  If she falls someone will be right there to tend to her. She's actually showering now, and they help her style her hair, which she could no longer handle on her own.  Her clothes are being laundered again.  We shouldn't have any more emergency room visits because she's hurt her back somehow and can't remember what happened.  We shouldn't find her with a pantiliner wrapped around her finger (again) because she cut it and doesn't remember how or when.  

And that's all possible because of the people who work with her.  They're doing an excellent job and I'm so thankful for them.

April E.

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