These particular weeks have been very emotional for me. My first born is going for the first time to school. The fact of seeing him each day more independent from me makes me very forlorn, yet I do understand that he must become his own person, and little by little, year by year, experience by experience detach himself from me and become independent.
Around this same time, as I conversed with our residents of the changes in their lives, many expressed to me how (on the contrary) they have become more and more dependent on others. How simple tasks little by little became more difficult to manage. To tie a shoelace becomes a hard task, a painful one, or dangerous to perform, not to mention the tasks that require more vulnerability like eating, combing one’s hair or being clean.
This contrast between my four year old and our residents made me think on all of us working here. How important each of our roles are to a person that little by little is depending more and more in another person. No wonder strong attachments are formed between the workers of a nursing home and its residents. One of them told me that when she learned that a PSW was going to be absent for a period of time, she internally suffered because she ‘depends’ on the care, loving words, and she mentioned the smile the PSW brings every time she comes around.
It also made me think, if I am indeed looking at myself as the person the residents depend on. If I am totally engaged with the conversation or the activity I do with them. If I am doing it just because is what I suppose to do or if I am able to receive, perceive and care for the trust they deposit in me when they see me. When I approach each individual regardless of the stage in life they are in, I want to be the person that they can trust to depend on.
We meet our beloved residents at a season in their lives that even they are learning to cope with. It is not easy to be ‘dependent’. It is frustrating to have to become vulnerable to a stranger to perform tasks that one has done thoughtlessly for many, many years. Sometimes my visits revolve around these conversations; I know how serious and profound they are to the residents. However little by little, cultivating patience, and connecting with them we will be able to be trusted more and more. Many of us will become like family to them, they will confide in us, and we will mutually care for each other more and more. Let us create the environment for our residents to feel at home with people they can entirely depend on, for many it is their last home and waiting room for heaven.
Lastly, it is good to depend on others and let other depend on us. Whether is at with our families, in the community or our workplace. This is what humanity is about.
Let us continue to care for our residents like our own family. May the Lord bless the work of your hands and the care you bring to these dear ones!