Emotional Age

Yesterday I had two jobs that were both dealing with someone who wasn't physically ill, but were driven to illness by their emotional state – and if they could swap places they would both be much happier.
First was 'Betty', Betty is 92 and lives in a nursing home where she feels tired and generally depressed. She wants nothing more than to go home and live independently – but her needs have been assessed and she requires nursing home care. Because of her depression she has been refusing to eat or drink and the nursing staff at the home have eventually realised that this is not good for Betty's health – so we are called and Betty is sent to hospital – all Betty wanted to tell me is that she wanted to go home as she doesn't like the nursing home.

Our next job was for 'Gladys', Gladys is 95 and lives on her own, she is partially blind, a bit deaf and craves company, because of her sight she cannot read or watch television. We were called because Gladys was having chest pain, and Gladys told me that her chest pain stops when she talks to someone and has something else to concentrate on. She was very happy when we told her that she was going to hospital, and I had a good chat with her in the back of the ambulance during which her pain disappeared, and she explained how lonely she is.

I don't know if it's because I'm tired or because the weather is bad – but I felt a great deal of sympathy for both of these patients, neither of them were happy, yet after 90 years of life shouldn't we have at least some small measure of contentment? One is surrounded by nurses, who see her as another body, few of which are of Betty's culture and she desires a more independent life. The other is isolated in her home, desperate for some human contact, whose only friend is the schizophrenic who lives next door – she would be happiest where there are other people around.

If I had a magic wand to wave, I'd swap these two women and give them, in their twilight years, a chance to be happy again.

9 thoughts on “Emotional Age”

  1. And then you have my Gran. Constantly complaining the we don't see her enough but too stubborn to realise that she should be in a home. She needs care every day and between us we JUST manage. Until something comes up and she struggles through. We've talked to her about it but she refuses. What can we do?Anyway, it's sad that the last years of life are lived this way. There must be more than this.

  2. Maybe that feeling is why nursing home staff end up so depressed and then incompetent. How hard must it be to do a job all day where nobody wants to be there and they blame you.

  3. I'm sure that in some cases you are right, but…If the nurses look at the patients as people, then the patient is happy and the nurse goes home happy. I've seen it in some nursing homes, and the patients are all clean, and happy. While in others the patients are dirty (including a visit to the same patient a week apart and the vomit was still dried on his carpet) the nurses are awful and the patients unhappy.

    I worked on a Care of the Elderly ward for a bit when I was nursing, and while it wasn't for me, there were some nurses there who made the patients lives that little bit better – if you start to hate you patients, then it's time to get out of the job…

    (Yeah I know that's strange coming from me)

  4. seems to me that the women who is in the nursing home but does not want to be there is where she should be. i understand that she would be “happier” at home, but lets be honest, she would not be healthier for it.I can think of countless jobs where i was called to the home of a patient who clearly needed to be in a nursing home setting, but had refused to go and as a result anly had a home care attendant. How many times did you go to a call where the home attendant states that the patient is having abd. pain and you get there and the ptient is in APE or about to code? personlly speaking i have many of these horror home care stories.

    I understand that people dont want to placed in these facilities because they feel abandoned or homesick, but health must come first.

  5. There but for………..there go I. I'm so glad that I have found blogging, 'tis better than sitting on a Brigh ton Pier, watching the pebbles getting their bed bath. I look out of these portholes, and long as I do not see a reflection I can dream of ……..As the swerling crowd pass and see this decaying flesh and bone[sans teeth , sans Eyes, sans taste,sans every thing]. [Willy the bard of Avon], they rush on the same mispent seconds, they do dissappear [the seconds, that is,also the Dervishes]and never to return except to agitate those little remaining grey cells. 'Tis so much like being out there with Friday looking for the rite bottle and then rite a comment [wish you were HERE].

    There is so much to say, yet to express it decently is very very hard. It is a shame that a few of the staff have not found happiness in their work. I have in the distant pass, have been to these institutations [in my work capacity]. But as you mentioned, some do marvelous work and others it is storage system. I wish more would consider having animals as regular visitors, for they do appear to bring people out of the inner mind and they seem to bring a smile and a tear to many a wizand face.

    I will try and wait for a letter from Buckingham Palace, congratulating me on my genetic luck by continuing to agravate blog spots.. Dungbeetle

  6. On Monday I was a the funeral of a lady who had been widowed a year earlier, in her mid-80s, after years of nursing her sick husband. Her son found her diaries after her death, and in the last few months, most of the entries read nothing at all has happened today. It doesn't seem right to be happy that someone has died, but despite regular visits from her family, and good enough health to continue living alone, she was incredibly lonely.I don't really know where I'm going with this comment. I've felt lonely in my 30s, but at least had the energy and the support network to drag myself out of it. I can't begin to imagine the bleakness of having nothing left to live for.

    Karen Uborka!

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