Posted by: PD Warrior | June 9, 2007


I can always tell when I have spent too much time focusing on my own problems; I get hit in the head with a proverbial “brick,” and suddenly the world at large will become infinitely clearer while my own issues become insignificant.

Yesterday was one of those days.

One of the people we care at the facility where I work has severe alzhimers. Physically he is able to walk without too much difficulty, which is exactly what he spends his day doing. I am not talking about a few hours here and there, I am talking about walking from the time he gets out of bed until the time he goes back to bed. To make matters worse – he only sleeps for 3 to 4 hours at a time. The fact that he walks so much is not the issue. The problem is that he will walk in and out of rooms belonging to other people, or into offices and/or work spaces that could potentially be dangerous to him. So, in order to keep him safe someone must be with him whenever he is up and walking. To do this, everyone in the building that is certified to walk with a resident (nurses and CNA’s) will take turns walking with him for 30-45minutes at a time.

WAKE UP CALL #1.  This gentleman is the father of a person I went to school with. I knew him while he was still in his prime. To see this very proud man reduced to the condition he is in mentally with his dementia is difficult at best.

I don’t know exactly how much he understands, but I try talking with him about his family, and other things I knew about him from the past, just to provide some sort of stimulation to him while I am walking with him (and to break up the monotony of our jaunt) Some days he looks at me with a blank expression, while other days he seems to have a sparkle in his eyes like he knows exactly what I am talking about but can’t express himslef. Other days he tries to talk, but the words come out as jibberish.

WAKE UP CALL #2. One of the things my facility has made a goal of doing in the last several month’s is to post a small biography of every resident outside their room. These little biographies have had a huge impact on the moral of not only the residents, but also visitors and caregivers. The residents love it when their caregivers talk to them about different aspects of the life they have led, and family members seem to have a restored sense of pride knowing their loved ones aren’t being thought of as just another “confused” person.

Here is where my wake up call comes in-  While walking with the gentleman I refered to previously I have had ample opportunity to read a lot of these little bios. Needless to say, they touched my heart in many cases. Because I have only known these people for who they are when they are admitted to my facility I found myself humbled before them after reading these short little blurbs about their lives. Some of them are related to famous people. Some of them have invented (or worked with the inventors) items we use on a regular basis. One was literally a rocket scientist at one point.

I find that I am surrounded by greatness both in my coworkers who give so much of themselves while caring for these people, and in the people we care for themselves- many of whom have done things that have impacted our lives in ways we cannot fathom. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: