Nursing homes.

I hate them. Why? Because I work in one and constantly see the sadness the residents feel. There are some residents with Alzheimer’s or Dementia who don’t completely understand what’s going on around them. They come up and ask me where they are, where their family is, all sorts of questions that just break my heart. Sometimes they get so frustrated. They tell me they want to go home and I have to explain to them that this place is their home.

Now I get that people might not time to take care of their love ones but they could at least visit more. The residents miss their family. It’s easy to get lonely or depressed. Some even get angry that they can’t leave to go home.

I had one resident, crying while she told me that the agitated residents getting angry about wanting to go home are just saying what everyone in the facility feels. She told me how she wanted to live in the same facility as her husband who has dementia but her healthcare provides for her needs better in Jersey than Pennsylvania. She’s one of the nicest people, loves to read and talk about her books, does tons of puzzle games and whatnot to keep herself entertained. I hate that I can’t really do more than converse with her and get her word puzzle books to occupy her time.

The only stimulation these residents get is conversation and activities that happen a handful of hours a day. But it gets boring. Playing the same games with the same people. Then the most conversation they get is if they can come to the front desk where I can talk with them because I can’t leave the desk unintended. Some residents can’t get up though and that’s another issue I can’t resolve. Other times resident talk with nurses that are typically busy monitoring all the other residents. So the conversation is usually cut short.

I wish there was more I could do. I wish their friends and families would visit more often. I wish they didn’t have to be here at all. Being in a nursing home is lonely. I hate them but I understand it’s a necessary option for people that need the 24/7 monitoring.

It’s hard seeing so many lonely people that don’t have a choice but to stay put in a facility where they see the same things day after day.

However, I think the hardest part of my job is when someone passes away and their relatives learn about it. I had one relative ask me how I did what I do. Being at the front desk means I’m everyone connection and have to know everything going on in the building. So when someone passes I’m the one that typically has to inform their relatives when they come in to visit.

Anyways, the best answer I could give was that it was life. With life comes death. Knowing there’s nothing you can do to stop it, all you can do is live the best you can. When it comes to relatives in nursing homes, you do what you can to fill the rest of their time with joy. Be by their side and let them know that you’ll be okay. Thank them for everything they’ve done and make sure they’re ready to go without regrets.

It probably wasn’t the best answer but on the spot, that’s the best I could explain. It’s a complex situation. I’d love to work somewhere else but the thought of leaving the residents I’ve befriends makes my heart heavy.

Life truly is so short. You blink and years have gone by. And as humans, we’re only here for a short amount of time. So live.

Live life the way you want. And don’t waste your time trying to please others. At the end of the day, it’s your happiness on the line. Choose to be happy and do everything you can to make it happen.

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