If there’s one bad thing about working with seniors in a nursing home, it’s that sooner or later, they’re going to die.
Blunt, I know. But it’s the truth and there’s no point trying to hide it. Plain & simple – it sucks.
No one’s died recently, but I’ve been taking care of this one lady since I first started almost 2 years ago and I can tell that she’s slowly on her way out. Her screaming matches with me have turned into mumbles. She doesn’t call me by the wrong name anymore (she never did get the hang of my actual name). She can’t even feed herself. When I first started she was eatting solid food. Now she’s on a puree diet and instead of smiling at me when she takes a bite she throws her spoon of puree chicken at me. Yes, I’ve had a lot of food thrown and spit at me.
It’s almost as if they go back in time and turn into children. The phrase “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and “I DON’T WANT IT!!” are very very popular. I think the only difference is that they welcome naps with open arms.
People have asked me a dozen times if I get attached to people that I work with. Ofcourse I do. I’m human, they’re human, you bond and work extremely close with them. I may be the only person they see on a regular basis besides their family (assuming their family still comes to visit). How do I deal with a death? I don’t know how to answer that. It’s not easy by any means.. it’s almost a relief I guess. Not for me – but for the resident and their family as in most cases they were probably suffering prior.
Another thing I get asked a lot is about the resident’s family and whether or not they have any and if so do they come to visit, etc. Well, it varies. I have some residents who have caregivers and family members come on a daily basis. There are others that come on special occasions or once in a while. Then there the ones where no one comes. Again, the reasons vary. Perhaps they never had children and any family they do have live far away. Perhaps they’ve all died. Or maybe they don’t get a long with anyone. Everyone’s story is different.
As far as holidays go, it is sad and it isn’t sad if relatives don’t come. If a resident has dementia, they have no idea it’s even Christmas, Easter or their Birthday, etc. To them it’s another day, so thankfully they can’t remember anything to miss. If resident’s are cognitive and alone on holidays, then yes, it’s sad. But that’s also where we come in. Someone once said to me PSW = Personal Shit Wiper.
I’m a lot more than that.
On another note, I want to do some updates about some things related to the field that aren’t particularily pleasant. Bodily functions interest me, let’s leave it at that for now 🙂