Sunday, February 6, 2011

Case study #20

This is a beautiful letter to the editor I read in The Citizen.

A Haven in Almonte


5 Feb 2011. Ted and Mary Harris, married for 60 years, still love to cuddle. Mary has regained some of her abilities at the Almonte County Haven nursing home.

Married for 60 years, they are both in the same long-term care home, at last, but this isn't the story for many. This isn't the case for all seniors. Finding places for two is much more difficult than we know.

Especially, since health issues differ. For example, a 97-year old with COPD, placed into a home. His wife, with early dementia, unable to use the stove safely, faces fear, anguish, and loss of her dear husband and his companionship.

I put together some questions and ideas I want to use when I work with her. She is fragile, and at-risk. I'm not sure how she will manage alone. Family are far away. Close friends have passed over. Waiting lists are prioritized, and while Alternate Level of Care (ALC) clients are often given priority when need a bed while in hospital, those at home alone are missing their spouse. They are at great risk, too. Biopsychosocial risks they should not have to face.

When speaking with your hospice client, it is good to talk about their issues. Fear is a horribly debilitating emotion. Anger is displaced fear. It helps to face the unknown with someone you trust.

How will your life change?
One of our healthy veterans!
Who can you call for help?
How will you do things differently?
What do you fear the most?
What is the best/worst thing that can happen?
Which goals, plans, dreams must you let go?
What new goals can you imagine?

Then, working with art can be a means by which we deal with our pain and anger.

Draw a picture of how you feel.
Create a collage of your feelings. (Use an old magazine and cut out pictures.)
Create a memory album for your spouse to take with him/her into their new home.

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