I typically work the alheizmers unit at the nursing home I work PRN at. I LOVE these people, are they combative, yes... do they yell at you,yes...do most of them lack the skills to care for themselves, yes. Do they constantly confuse you with family members, yes...in fact one guy thinks Im his son Mike! Do they forget things you told them just a second before...yes
Resident... how old are you
Me... Im almost 23
Resident... Really, Im 16.
Me... are you, I thought you were 86.
Resident... 86, your crazy...Im 16... how old are you?
I have this same conversation with the same lady every shift...atleast ten times!
I dont know why I am drawn to this unit, a lot of aids dont like it at all. I get frusterated with being hit or spit on but I love these people. They wander the halls of a small lock down unit with faces that are blank. Imagine not knowing where you are or how you got there, and only wanting to go home! Imagine not even knowing where home is or in some cases not even knowing who you are!
We have one resident, I will call him James to prtect his identity. James worked his whole life as a special detective in the police force. He is particular about where he puts things and will literally spend hours reorganizing his small dresser and closet until it is immaculate. He is stern when you first talk with him, but kind once you get to know him. He is an alheizmers patient.
Last night I was in a hurry trying to finish my round so I could chart and get ready to go home, I went in to James room knowing he was going to take a long time to get ready for bed as he is so particular. I knew I had to be patient and allow him to do it at his own pace as he doesnt want help but needs supervision! When he changed his pants he pulled out a wallet, he opened it for me to see what he had in it, it was his drivers license, and his wives drivers license, He didnt want me to touch it, he had a particular spot he wanted it to be put. This, to James, is a prized posession.
I teared up thinking about his life before living in the alheizmers unit. I began to look at his walls, He had awards, he had pictures of his family. He was a man with a career a man people admired for his knowledge. May I never forget that with each of my residents, they are more then sweet people, they are my elders, and even with alheizmers I can learn from them.