From my experience working in a rest home. The families have limited understand of what dementia is and how if could effect their loved ones. Its hard because dementia is a progressive disease and their loved ones dont like to accept that the person they once knew would change. Today, I meet a family who was very understanding to their family member. The showed that they do understand Alzheimer and how to approach our residents. I learnt a lot from them for the 10mins of them being there. It was incredible how much they cared about their mum/grandmother, who was with us for respite care. Their mum/grandmother had poor vision, poor hearing, poor speech, unable to feed herself, unable to use the bathroom, unable to walk herself, unable to do her ADLs herself, had pains in her leg, cognitive ability not the best and some other health concerns. Most of the day she would sleep - I didnt like to wake her up or move her because I didnt like the thought of her being in pain. The family members encouraged their loved one with unconditional love and support - she actually could walk - she pushed through all the pain in her legs for her family members. It touched my heart because they want to continue to look after their mum/grandmother at home even though its challenging at times. It means a lot to have family members who stick beside their older members no matter what with incredible amount of support, love and acceptance.
When the elderlies leave our facility, they may not be physically there, but spiritually they will always be there. I believe that even though it is a rest home, it was their home for a part of their lives. They are a member of our family and they are welcome to stay as long as they like.
Its like, when there is no one physically around, we can hear strange sounds, feelings or touches. We believe that they are letting us know that they dont like being invisible. Sometimes in their ex-room they knock, sometimes we can hear their voice, sometimes they slap as across the face (when staff nod off during night shift) and sometimes push the doors closed (or lock us in/out). They have a special place in my heart and I will always remember them. I really hope they are in a nice place up above and surrounded by their loved ones.
The residents in my dementia rest home dont realize what they are doing. They dont understand their inappropriate behaviours. Just today, I got spat on from trying to stop a fight between two elderlies. I’ve learnt to accept that this is normal working here. Other staff told me if the residents knew what they were doing they would be disgusted in themselves. Most of the residents are lovely, its only when they cant express themselves appropriately they act out to release their frustration and confusion. One time an elderly female who was getting a blood test done, threw a shoe at one of our staff, another resident and the blood test lady. Luckily it missed all of them and now whenever the blood test lady comes, our staff says ‘duck’ and ‘be warn from flying shoes.’ I guess we just have to create jokes when working in a stressful environment.
Some elderly have the most amazing lives, and if you are free, its nice to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea with them.
Its just hard to see that they have dementia now and they forget their lives, family and friends. But even though their memories arent the sharpest, with a little prompting they can piece together the significant parts. i.e. It shows when they simile at the things they have accomplished.
Elderly female: I can’t find my underwear
Me: [name] it’s around your neck
Elderly female: where? (takes it off her neck), oh
Elderly: I can’t walk
Me: Don’t worry, try running.
Elderly: haha, very funny
Then the elderly continues to walk down the hallway for breakfast.