Follow by Email

12/11/10

Night of the Living Dead and Other Observations

Last night, after our RoomStore adventure, Mom and I watched "The Jeffersons" on the muted living room TV while the rest of the folks ate supper. (Mom proclaimed her dislike for Mr. Jefferson.) We sat out there because her room was locked and I still don't have a key.

It occurred to me that all the inmates people in there (that I've seen) are Caucasian. Most of the caregivers during the evening are African-American. Some are from Jamaica, some from Africa. During the day shift, most of the care-givers are white. People have worked there a long time though, some of them fifteen years. Guess that says something.
I hope it says this-is-a-great-place-to-work-I-get-treated-fairly-and-I-WANT-to-work-the-evening-shift.

One of the women says, "Somebody help me!" over and over. Mom rolls her eyes when she starts up.
As in - "Oh God, here we go again."
One of the caregivers said there are a lot of former professors and other smart type people in there. One of them studied dementia for twenty years and now she's in here. That just might be the definition of irony.
Interestingly, (to me anyway), there is a higher proportion of men in Clare Bridge than there was in Wynwood. 

Bob, who was a pilot at some point in his life, shuffles around the halls in his baseball cap and aviator jacket. He doesn't really speak, it's more of a groan. Another man, whose name I don't know yet, came up and started talking to my scarf about war maneuvers. A woman in the dining room asked if I was "going to take care of things around there." I said I would do my best.

I left Mom in her room, after someone unlocked it for us, dressed in her pajamas and robe watching the dashing Mr. Poitier in "Lillies of the Field" on TCM. (my favorite "Scrooge" movie - with Albert Finney - was coming on at 9:30 and I don't have cable. Dangit.)

Then Bob and I shuffled down the hallway to the lobby, where I was released.

6 comments:

  1. Most intensely disturbing moments when running the gauntlet at an Alzheimer's unit, yes, the variations on "Get me out of here, I want to go home now" and some of the women reaching for my then 4-year-old son (AP), saying, "That's my little girl!" until I had to leave him with someone when I went over. I'm sure you're a comforting presence, but it takes a heavy toll. Even your scarf was a good listener. Anon CP

    ReplyDelete
  2. You always hope that the caregivers where a family member is staying are serious and compassionate in their efforts. Hopefully your mother will receive that kind of care.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is what I worry about all the time--the quality of the caregivers. And you're right to wonder who's choosing the night shift and who's getting stuck with it. It's not quite same where Alice is, but there are enough things going on to make me wonder. The turnover rate is just alarming.

    Too sad to think the woman who studied dementia is now in that ward.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Andrea: the turnover rate is much lower in Clare Bridge for some reason. The average stay is about 6 years. I wonder if the pay is higher.
    They seem to care about Mom and she seems to enjoy them. Her face lights up when she sees them, which is heartening.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's good to know. I guess I misunderstood.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ Andrea: I still worry. :)

    ReplyDelete