Friday, August 29, 2008

The Old Lady Down The Street

A big part of my "new" job is going to my patient's home to see how they are doing and if they are safe in their home, both cognitively and physically.

I have to tell you how many times I go to someone's home, usually a little old lady who lives by herself, to find that not only is she unfit to be living there alone, but that she has no one close by that can help her out with simple tasks.

For example, I visited a lady yesterday. I got there at 11:30 am. Part of my questioning (aimed at memory) asked her what she had for breakfast. Turns out she didn't have breakfast because the girl from my company that was supposed to come help her make it, wasn't able to come. This poor lady didn't have anyone to call to come, had a ferocious hunger headache and really had no clue how to make a bowl of cereal for herself. Granted, steps should be taken to where she's no longer living alone in that situation and that's partly my job but I'm only called in on the cases that are known about. You'd be surprised how many of these ladies go on living like this until they fall and end up in a nursing home.

So, I'm asking you - are you aware of who lives on your street and neighborhood? Do you suppose there might be someone who might benefit from you calling them and asking them if you can pick up a gallon of milk for them, or taking out the garbage to the curb so they don't fall on their driveway, or grabbing their mail for them?

It doesn't take much time for you to be aware and help out a little bit to prevent these people from accidentally starving themselves or literally being forgotten to death.

10 backward glances:

Aislinn said...

I think it's amazing - what you do. It takes a special person to be willing to go into situations as you describe and genuienly want to be of assistance! You make a great point - I'll have to check out my neighbors!!

Christy said...

Thanks Amy. We all should be more aware of our neighbors needs especially the Elderly. I agree with Aislinn also...I would find your line of work very challenging. I admire you for your compassion.

Mikki said...

That is an excellent reminder. Thanks for this insight. I will strive to be more aware of those around me

Amy said...

the hardest part about what i do is to tell a little lady or man, and their family that the home she has spent the last 50 years is no longer the safest place for her. it makes me sad to think of what they'll go through in order to leave.

Kelly said...

It's so so sad the way our elderly are just forgotten. I do know the people on my block. There was an old lady 2 doors down who was very frail. Before she passed, her kids came daily to check on her, but I always shoveled for her, even when I was a kid. I have next door neighbors on both sides who are older. One is 75, but he is very well, we see him every day and if we don't, we call him. The others aren't as old, but are not in great health, so we shovel for them and also check in if we haven't seen them.

It's wonderful what you do. I take care of my 89 year old grandma. There are days when she thinks she has eaten lunch, but she hasn't. She is mentally all there, but when you are home and do nothing all day, time runs together and you don't remember what you did today and what you did yesterday.

I'm glad to know there are people like you looking out for those without family and good neighbors to keep watch.


Jessica said...

You are such a good person, Amy. This post encourages me to do more for the people I know.

Rachel said...

This made me smile, thinking about your bubbly personality coming into these peoples lives, lifting them up just with your present.

Sarah said...

It is true. So many people nowdays do not care about the elderly around them. We had a precious older couple down the street from where we used to live. Right before the man passed away, he fell and we were the only ones home to help them. My husband was able to go down and help him into bed, calm them down, and read some Bible verses to them.

It only takes a few conversations and getting their phone might be the only one they can rely on!

Good luck--what a rewarding job to have!

friendinME said...

nice post, Amy.

It is heartbreaking to see how many older people are forgotten. I have stories of older people who died in their homes... and no one knew for weeks. That shouldn't be.

I have also visited people in nursing homes who are entirely forgotten by family and friends. These folks may be getting the physical nourishment that they need, but they are withering away on the inside.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

thank you....applause.

Our neighborhood is multigenerational. Many of the kids I grew up with on this street moved back in with their elderly parents in order to help them out financially and physically. Through the years everybody has kept tabs on everybody else. We are VERY fortunate. (yay for the Sandwich Generation!)