Six Feet Under.

Waiting for death is an awfully tiresome experience. Not knowing when they’re going to go. Not knowing if this breath will be their last – despite  the use of an oxygen tank. They’re no longer responsive to your voice. Your touch. It’s like you’re holding the hands of an empty shell whose soul has already departed. But you can’t properly grieve because their body is – for all intents and purposes – alive. Not living, but existing. In a never-ending time capsule that won’t open.

I watch this every day. 2 beautiful souls who were once so vibrant with life lie motionless in a single bed. I no longer get hit on. I no longer see their smiles when I walk into work. Their jokes aren’t being told to anyone.

It’s hard. Being a PSW and dealing with all the things that come with this position doesn’t mean that I’m completely devoid of emotion. It is excruciating to watch someone die a slow a death. As awful as it sounds, I find myself wishing for death to hurry up and take them. Their quality of life is nonexistent.

The hardest part for me is watching their family members. Not only seeing them cry, but watching them slowly lose every ounce of sanity they have left trying to keep it together. Frustration and anger take over, asking over and over why they can’t do anything to help.

One of them is going to go this week. The waiting game, even while at home and in my pajamas plagues me. Dealing with death once it happens is far easier than dealing with its disturbing game of trickery.

WSAD & Happy Anniversary to ME!

2 years ago today I decided to start apswlife and 2 years on I am extremely happy and grateful that I have the opportunity to share these stories with you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the kind words. It means more than words can describe that I can discuss my life as a PSW in the working world. To get out there the trials and tribulations that people in this career face. I will continue to do this for as long as my fingers can type. And when that stops, I will recite words to someone who will then type for me. Yes, this blog isn’t going ANYWHERE.

Moving on.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I want to talk about this for 2 reasons. 1) I know all too well the feelings of wanting to die and 2) I want to talk about Depression and the Elderly.

Unfortunately, there are far too many individuals who do not know the true meaning of depression. Thankfully, one reason is because they’ve never gone through it. Secondly, there is a HUGE stigma around it and it’s other ugly cousins in the large family of mental illness. Well, as you may or may not know I am not one to keep quiet. Depression is more than a sadness. It’s more than crying. It’s more than an Emo 16 year old sitting up in his bedroom listening to Cradle of Filth at full volume. Depression is the ongoing feeling of numbness. Of constantly feeling & believing that there is no end in sight. Waking up after a night’s sleep is a nightmare. Feeling alone in a room full of family and friends is one of the most awful feelings in the world. And you know what? Seniors get it to.

Depression has many route causes. Sometimes it is a chemical imbalance. Other times it is the result of a sudden change in life or a loss.  Often times, seniors in long term care get misdiagnosed with other ailments because they have the same symptoms as depression. If someone with dementia starts lashing out verbally and physically, would you consider this to be a symptom of depression? It could be. If this person is generally a gentle, quiet soul and they randomly start acting out, that could be a sign. People with dementia do not know how to show their feelings in an appropriate manner. Men specifically tend to show their emotion with anger as talking about it was never an option in their day and age.

It is important to look at the over all picture before properly diagnosing someone. In some cases, medicinal use may not even be needed. Getting individuals more involved in activities and with other residences have huge happy factors.

It is our job as a PSW to pay attention to the OVER ALL picture of our resident and to report any sort of change in behaviour to the appropriate person. Most importantly, don’t forget to take time to talk to your residents. If they’re sad, and are able and willing to talk, stay and listen.

I’d also like to say a little farewell to a resident who passed away recently. Their passing wasn’t a complete shock to me but none the less, when I heard of their death my heart sank like a stone in water. I’ll miss your dry sense of humour and how you always made fun of my hair and nail polish choices. I love you always MK.