Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Cuckoo's Nest: My Rules

Now that I'm feeling a little better and can spend more than a couple of minutes sitting up, I thought I'd post on the rules I would put in place if I were Queen of the Cuckoo's Nest.  The rules are directed to visitors to the joint:  you know, the friends and relatives who feel bad that one of their own has to live in an assisted living facility.

First (and I do mean FIRST), if you don't feel well, or are coming down with something or are just getting over something, please don't drop by.  Most of us have compromised immune systems, which means we'll all get whatever it is you are inadvertently sharing.  And the people who work here will probably get it as well, which means they'll be taking the bug home to their families.  Stay home.  Get well.  Then come visit.

Try to let your family member/friend know when you'll be coming.  If it's a spur-of-the-moment decision, you'll still be welcome, but you may be "interrupting" something your visitee enjoys doing, like eating a regularly scheduled meal, or watching a favorite TV program, or playing Bingo with the other residents.  Sometimes that's OK, but sometimes it puts your visitee in the position of making an unwelcome choice.

If you're planning to take your relative or friend out for more than just a ride or a quick visit to the local fast food joint (which we all enjoy once in a while), make sure you let the facility know.  Residents often are on a medication schedule and you may need to take medication (and instructions when and how to administer it) with you.  When I go out with the angel who visits me regularly, I have to take my portable oxygen unit and emergency inhaler and pills which I normally take at meal time.  If your relative/friend is incontinent, you may need to pick up a couple of "pull-ups" along, just in case.

Do not assume that everyone in the facility you are visiting is deaf.  Some of us do have hearing problems, but shouting at us isn't being kind to us or anyone else in the area.  The rest of us don't need to know that Uncle Sherman has been indicted, nor do we particularly care.

Also, do not assume that everyone is senile.  Most of us can still tell when we are being treated as children and we resent the hell out of that.  A smile and a friendly greeting always works.  Patting us on the head never does.  You got that?

Finally, at least for this session, be nice to all the care-givers and workers at the facility.  Theirs is often a difficult job, one that is always under-paid.  Saying "Thank You" to them will make them happy and will make your visitee proud.

And now I'm gonna go watch Katie Couric for a while.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom is in a nursing home. These are some great tips! Thanks for sharing.

11:53 AM  
Blogger naomi dagen bloom said...

Heads up to Anonymous: Person blogging here lives in an "assisted living" place--not a "nursing home." It is time all of us get with the terminology of senior/aging places.

Sorry, I could not resist. I live independently in a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) and no one gets that idea without a long explanation. Neither did I till the time came.

9:11 AM  

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