The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
When I worked at a nursing home, I found that a lot of the other workers there were not as kind to the residents as you would have hoped. I was always told that nursing homes are not good places for people to go but never actually knew how bad until I worked there. To put it in perspective these people pay like $1000 give or take a month for a home after from home and to be assisted in daily living. However, sometimes the resident is put aside because of laziness, hatred, or even just plain ignorance. I watched several call lights go off and the other aides just sit there as I got each one. A resident could have fallen while I was busy with another and laid there until I was done. How can somebody hear a bell and not care? The whole purpose of working there is to be there to help these residents. This month is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and I wrote this poem to commemorate that. Just because somebody isn’t fully there does not mean they aren’t a person and should not be treated with respect.
They sit there staring blankly at the wall,
Wondering where their spouse is,
Wondering when their kids are going to pick them up,
Wondering who they are,
They spend every day in a bedroom that wasn’t always their bedroom,
They eat in a room that is not the same dining room they ate in before,
They spend their days with other people that they do not know,
They sit there staring and thinking,
A person is trying to help them get up and get dressed for the day,
They know that this person in front of them is bad but don’t quite remember how,
This person did something to them that made them sad,
This person is trying to help them now, but the resident is being “hostile” and “combative”,
This person put in the resident’s notes “refused to change clothes for the day due to hostility”,
Another person approaches the resident and asks if they can help them get ready,
They smile and nod,
The other person stands in awe as though they did not yell at the resident last time they changed them,
They get dressed for the day and sit there staring again,
Wondering if they will be treated nicely,
Wondering if they really are alone,
It is not fair to a resident when they get treated like this. It is unacceptable and disgusting. People will always say “they won’t remember, it's okay”. This is not the case, they always remember. They may not exactly remember what you did to them, but they remember how you made them feel. That will always stay, and you will always have a negative connection to them. One thing that made me the saddest was the ones that never got visitors. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, please go see them. Visiting helps a lot, more than you know. If you have to put them in a type of place as such please remember the staff can be mean, they are alone, and they are scared.