At the moment, I work at a care home. There are a variety of residents that live in the facility. People range from complete independence to complete care, including emotional support and step by step prompts. Talking with these folks can be like putting together a puzzle; some of their words must be pieced together in order to gather a complete, comprehensible story.
Today was slower pace in terms of physical labor. I worked in the memory care unit with residents who suffer from dementia and alzheimer’s disease. At first glance, these people seem to be completely lost. There is no depth beyond their eyes. It can be extremely hard to relate and communicate with these individuals at times. Then it dawned on me: regardless of mental ability and emotional stability, every human needs to be cared for and deserving of love.
In that spirit, I talk to them like friends and relatives. It’s extremely liberating for me to feel wanted and also to support people who can’t take care of themselves. This may seem selfish to some, but it helps me to feel validated and useful.
I took care of this woman tonight whom can’t take care of herself at all. She needed help using the restroom, getting washed up, and placed in her bed for the evening. After I had snuggled her into blankets at said good night, she thanked me. I told her she was welcome. Then she said, “thank you for being so nice”. It literally broke my heart. Thoughts rushed throughout my brain: are other aides treating her well or is she just being appreciative?
It becomes to discern whether or not these residents are expressing coherent thoughts or saying things based on past experiences. It’s not always easy, but the job can be very rewarding. These people trust me to care for them and I love taking care of them. The way I see it, it’s a win-win.
This world needs more compassion and empathy. Please donate to an alzheimer’s fund or volunteer at a local care home. It’s so wonderful to see outsiders who care enough to reach out to people who have contributed to our society for many decades. We would want the same for ourselves, so do it for those who have put in the time.
This is my wish for a better world.
Best wishes all,