Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Longing To Be Noticed

To love and to be loved is life. Love, respect - basic human needs. As I walked down the halls of a nursing home yesterday, I looked into the open doors of the residents' rooms and I was sad. Some with bare walls and bare stares. Others with family pictures on the walls and on dressers, and drawings from great grandchildren who loved them. And with hope in their eyes. Some were being wheeled down the hall to the lunch room - shoulders hunched, faces down. All with most of their lives behind them. And I visited my dad. And he was frail, sitting in his wheelchair, but with a bright mind and smile in his eyes, and a longing to be home. And I knew then - all these people had families - all were sons and daughters, most were fathers and mothers. And they had lives and stories and a longing to be loved and noticed - and not forgotten. And they each deserved to be treated with respect and dignity for a long life lived. And I was very thankful for caregivers who actually cared.

15 comments:

  1. Yes, we share that common need to be seen, to be loved, to be respected. I don't relish getting old. It feels like a scary place to be.

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  2. "So if you’re walking down the street sometime
    And spot some hollow, ancient eyes,
    Please don’t just pass ‘em by and stare
    As if you didn’t care, say, 'Hello in there, hello.'” John Prine

    Your words emulate those of Prine, with an eloquent simplicity which comes from your heart. I wish your father well, and the next time you see him, maybe you could say, "Hello, in there," for me.

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  3. Judy..I feel your sadness. I too was at a nursing home yesterday..visiting my nana and everytime I go I have the same thoughts. I stare at these people hunched over , staring into space and wonder what their life was like. I keep telling my hubby I would love to do a documentary on the subject. Each one has a story behind their blank stares. Sometimes I get lucky and talk to them and one will share their story with me. I leave there feeling touched but sad.

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  4. I did some pet therapy years ago at my local nursing home. Sadly, my hours at work didn't fit into the pet therapy schedule so I had to stop. I did notice that they long for the company of others. If I missed one week, they would let me know. : ) After reading your post I feel so guilty that life just gets so overwhelmed that I could no longer visit. : (

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  5. I've gone to nursing homes several times with the Young Women and it always makes me sad. So many of them are starved for attention. It seems a pitiful reward for living a long life.

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  6. Judy-glad you got to see your dad. I am sure it ment a lot to him. love you.

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  7. How true. There's few things sadder than someone in a nursing home waiting hopefully for a visitor ... who never comes.

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  8. Nursing homes make me so sad. Some days I want to just break in there with flowers, cards, puppies or cats and children. But that's only momentary gladness I suppose. Nothing beats family members' care.

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  9. Its not easy to find a care giving facility, or even a care giver for that matter, that is indeed a place where care is given vs where patients needs are neglected .. I am so glad your dad is in a good place

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    1. It's been a good trip - my dad is coming home tomorrow. He has improved so much over the last two months that he just doesn't belong there anymore. a very exciting time for all of us!

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    2. I'm very happy to hear that :)

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  10. I am struck from time to time just how much the need to be loved and needed is so strong for everyone. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but IMHO they are troubled individuals with serious mental problems. Even animals seem to have the need to connect. Wise caregivers and those who support good caregivers deserve lots of kudos.

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  11. Community service is a requirement at the halfway house (40 hours per month) where I work. Many of our residents who volunteer at the nursing home spend much of their volunteer hours just visiting with the residents there. It makes such a huge difference both to the nursing home residents and to our residents. Not only do people have a very basic human need to be noticed and acknowledged, there is something rewarding in that connection from the other angle as well. There have been several guys who have continued to volunteer there even after transitioning out of our house.

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