“I don’t know how you can handle working in a nursing home,” my friend, Daisy, commented, as we shared conversation over a cup of coffee.
“Life in the nursing home isn’t what everyone believes, a place full of just problems and sadness. Sure we have our share of that. But it’s also a place where friends and family share memories and vivid experiences.”
“But don’t you go home loaded down with your resident’s problems?” Daisy asked, doubtfully.
“Not really,” I replied. “Sometimes I do get stressed, but for the most part, I feel I can handle the challenges. You don’t know of all the fun times we have at the nursing home. It’s a place for conversations, reading, gossip, romance and glamour. Life there is rich, dynamic and synergistic.”
“Ha! Then why is it called a ‘rest home’ if there’s no rest after all?”
“They’re no longer called ‘rest homes.’ Nursing homes are no longer institutions where people go to die. They are ‘homes’ where people can continue their lives with the help they need. And for those that are at the end of life, it’s a place where they can die in comfort with dignity.”
“Wow, so things have changed a lot.”
“I noticed huge changes in the last five years. Changes in concepts, focus, care, and regulations. It’s quite interesting.”
“Well, since you find so much fun at the nursing home, do you have any funny story you can tell me?” Daisy asked, grinning.
“Oh Lord, I have many humorous stories. One that makes me laugh every time I recall it, had to do with a resident’s daughter.”
I told Daisy a story that actually became one of my most embarrassing moments at the nursing home. It was about Cheryl. Her mother had recently been admitted to the facility. Since the moment I met Cheryl, I noticed she spoke with a slight foreign accent.
Her mother was born in Missouri, and she indicated that had lived in that state all her life. I wondered why her daughter had an accent. Had Cheryl lived outside of the USA? She had a husband, but he was also a Missourian.
I was so curious.
We had our first care plan meeting. I would get distracted every time Cheryl spoke because of her slight accent. The other members of the team didn’t seem to notice it, and no one mentioned anything after the meeting.
The times I talked to her, I continued to wonder about her accent. A month later, we had another meeting. By then, I had established a good relationship her. After the meeting, I approached Cheryl in the hall, making sure no one was around.
My curiosity couldn’t wait any longer.
“Cheryl, I want to ask you a personal question. You have a slight accent. Have you lived overseas?”
Cheryl stared at me. Then she started laughing out loud.
I was puzzled.
“No, it’s not an accent,” she said, still laughing.
“It’s speech impediment”