Change Is Good

I’ve been a bit silent of late because, quite honestly, I was a bit down. As in depressed. Not lay on a shrink’s couch and spill my childhood and blame it on someone depressed, or “mommy’s little helper” medication needed depressed. Just bummed.

I love my profession, caring for the elderly, and have a passion for memory care patients. When I took the position at my sister’s facility I felt I had found the place I’d stay for many years. But when your sister is the Executive Director, and policy says no family can be a direct or indirect report (never mind it was approved by the corporate HR), sooner or later someone is going to become disgruntled with management and pitch a hissy fit.  Some nurse who didn’t like the E.D. enforcing policies decided to stick it to the facility and complained. She has no idea the can of worms she has opened because many people there are direct and indirect reports to family, and now that will have to be addressed because my coworkers and resident families are very unhappy about my having to resign and go else where.  50+ fellow employees signed a petition, resident’s families lit up the integrity and friends & family phone lines, but it did no good. I gave a 30 day notice and started hunting for a new job.

The first job I found was very close to home, so much so I could walk if I wanted too. But one look at the very clinical feel of the memory care unit and I simply could not stomach it. I oriented and the entire time it felt like an institution and not a good way to care for our elderly with dementia. I was really in the dumps over it. I prayed and sometimes even yelled at my Father in Heaven, not liking this one bit!

Then…I found it. I knew of a local place that was just opened, and is all memory care assisted living. At this point, figuring I had nothing at all to lose, I walked in and applied. I was interviewed and hired on the spot. My 3 day class from Teepa Snow’s organization on caring for dementia residents was a huge plus.

I found my dream job folks! You know those places you see on Facebook with the cute little front porches inside the building? The ones that don’t look like a nursing home but more like a neighborhood from long ago? Well that is what this new place is like! In fact they call each ‘unit’ a neighborhood. And it is all person centered. If grandma wants to sleep until noon, she does. If she wants to sit in the living room and sip coffee in her jammies, she does that too. Court yards that wrap around the entire building, all secure and feeling like you are strolling along past outdoor porches with rocking chairs and smiling old folks keeping them moving. Inside the dining rooms and living rooms feel like home. As you walk around the square past each neighborhood porch there is furniture that feels like outdoors and mimics true days of old. The pace inside is gentle and loving. We serve their meals in chef’s jackets so they feel like they are dining out in a fancy place. It is amazing!

I now look forward to going to work every day. It is like being at home! I do dishes (in a dishwasher), set tables, make beds, assist with activities of daily living…and I’m expected to sit outside in the rockers with my residents and engage them! Yes, paid to spend time watching a movie or tv show, walking the court yard paths, or working a puzzle or playing a game! We are care partners, like family members, to our residents.

Sure, we have some who sun down and become difficult, but with the training I have I know how to redirect them, validate their feelings, empathize and help them through those bumps in the road.

Who knew that when forced to change, it was because God had something better in store for me! This job has blessed my life so much, in ways I could never have imagined.