abnormal psychology, health, mental health, mental illness, non-fiction, short story, wellness

Old and Tired at 101 years old

I had a conversation with a man that is 101 years old. The other workers told me to stay with him for a while because they thought he had become confused and forgetful. They thought he would not be safe alone in is room.

So, I sat with him and asked him what was up. He told me.

He said, “I am old.”

I said, “How old are you?”

He said, “I was born in March of 1913.”

“You are 101 years old? Wow, that is really neat.” I said

“I am old.” he said ” I am old and tired. They all think I am confused because I say that. But I am old and I am tired. I don’t understand why I am still here.”

He continued on “The same thing happened to my mother. She lived to be over 100. She was not happy about it. She was old ad tired.”

“I understand,” I said. “You are old and tired and everything is hard for you. Your family and friends are all in heaven and you don’t know why you are still here.”

“That’s right,” he said.

It is strange to me that people think someone is confused when they say they no longer want to be here on the earth.

Sometimes people are old and tired and they are just done. That is how they feel. They are not confused about it. They are only wondering when they will die and why they are still here when everyone they love has passed on.

They miss their spouse and their children who have long since passed away. It is not easy to be 101 years old.

He is not forgetful or disoriented at all. he is not confused. he knows exactly how he feels and no one wants to listen to it.

Feeling like you want to die is unacceptable. It is not proper therefor the person must be confused or have dementia.

I spoke with this man for 20 minutes and he had no signs of dementia. His memory is better than mine is.

Afterwards I told the supervisor that he was depressed. She said “he is forgetful and confused.”

There is a difference between forgetful and disoriented and being depressed. Most people don’t expect old people to feel depressed.

They think they are too old to have anything going on with them except dementia and forgetfulness.

Sometimes people feel the way they feel, even if it doesn’t fit into people’s comfort zone.

I was glad they called me to sit with him. He was honest and forthcoming with me because I was willing to listen without judgement.

Whenever someone says they don’t want to live, people tell them “You don’t mean that”. But they do. People don’t say things like that if they don’t really feel that way.

At least someone listened and believed him. It isn’t much but it was the least I could do.

Namaste,
Annie

alzheimer's didease, alzheimers disease, anxiety, CNA, dementia, health, inspirational, mental disorders, mental health, nurses, nursing home, spirituality

Our Capacity for Love

I work with dementia patients for my job. I would like to share this touching story with you that happened last year.

I have an old woman with dementia in the unit that has severe disorientation of time and place. I will refer to her here as Anna Rosemary.

Anna Rosemary is a sweet lady. She cannot put her words together to make any sentences that make sense. She expresses emotion clearly through facial expression, gestures and the volume and tone of her voice.

If she is sad then she cries. If something amuses her, she laughs. When she sees me she always smiles.

Sometimes when i get to work she looks at me and says “thank God.” which means I have not seen you around, I am glad to see you back.

I stopped to talk with her one night. She likes to talk back and forth. She listens and she responds but her words do not come out the way she wants.

She says to me “I feel like I am cuckoo.” I was surprised at this because it had not occurred to me that she was aware that there was something wrong with her brain.

I repeated it back to her to make sure I had understood her. I said “Anna Rosemary. do you feel like you are cuckoo?”

She said “Yes. I am trying to figure myself out.” I was amazed at the clarity of this sentence. I must have taken a huge amount of effort for her to force her brain to put that sentence together. That shows how important it is for people to communicate their feelings to another person.

I gave her a hug and told her that her brain was being a bit cuckoo and I did not know why. I told her that I still knew her and loved her. I could still understand how she was feeling.

I told her that I feel a bit cuckoo sometimes too. Something happens with our brain sometimes. But that she was still Anna Rosemary.

She hugged me and said “it is hard” I asked her if she felt it was hard to put her words together. She hugged me tighter.

I said to her, “you still know love. You still have a beautiful heart and know what love is.”

“You don’t have to keep trying so hard right now to put the words together. You are full of love and I love you.”

She and I stood there and I held her and kissed the top of her head.

Anna Rosemary hugged me back, and felt comforted, as did I.

She stopped worrying about putting her words together for a while and took my hand to walk with her into the living room area. We just walked together , holding hands for a while in silence.

Sometimes there is more love in silence than with a lot of talking. If she can still love people and needs to be loved then love itself must transcend the basic functions of the brain.

Love and the need to be loved is more powerful than the rational, cognitive parts of the brain.

Even when most of the brain is not functioning properly, love is still alive and thriving.

The brain is the ruling organ of the body. It controls every function in the body, including language processing and speech.

But even with all of those functions damaged, the capacity for love is in tact. There is something very special about our ability to love.

assisted living, CNA, comedy, family, funny blog, home health aide, humorous, joke, jokes, life, nurse humor, nursing home, top 10 list, top ten list

Annie’s Top 10 List – Things a Nursing Home Aide Does not Want to Hear

10. Beatrice was right there a minute ago.

9. I would have sworn I put a diaper on her.

8. The only juice left to give them is prune juice.

7. The coffee maker in the break room is broken.

6. We are having a fire drill at 9pm.

5. It’s a full moon.

4. You go tell them we  have no ice cream  for dessert.

3. Why is Paul wearing Connie’s nightgown?

2. They just waxed the floor.

1. Aren’t  those Mary’s clothes in the tv room?