Thursday, October 6, 2011

What are you afraid of?

This is my mother Nancy passing out Candy at the Wesleyan for trick or treaters. Always a wonderful time for the residence and the kids alike.
It's that time of year. Time to dress in silly outfits, carve pumpkins and tell scary stories. This will be the 3rd  year Mom has been at the Wesleyan in Georgetown for Halloween. Usually around 100 kids , family and family of the staff , arrive for a night of trick or treating at the Wesleyan. I just can't describe how tender and sentimental an event it really is. It always makes me dewy eyed when I think about it. There's nothing better for OLD people than YOUNG people!

Oddly, the night the young trick or treaters come , the senior residents are energetic and wide awake!

Ordinarily by that time of night, the senior residents are wanting to go to bed. Of course they all want to go to bed at the exact same time. This doesn't work out because there's not enough staff to possibly do that but every day irregardless, they  still urgently push those "give me assistance" buttons over and over , asking to be put to bed.
One of Mom's roommates, forgets where her "give me assistance" button is. She goes around the room picking up her remote to the TV and pushing that, she pushes on her bed post,  she finds my cell phone on mom's dresser and pushes that. "I need to go to bed!", "Can I get some help here!"  she squawk's.

What are you most afraid of? That's the question I've been asking residents for the last couple of weeks.

From my little amount of research. most the responses to that question were the same answers you would get from people of any age.  Snakes, spiders, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and ghosts.  The most common answer was death.  A 99 year old man I asked explained it best!

 Mom's friend Fred,  still able to walk with the help of a walker and obviously very stubborn about losing his independence, told me this: "You see, before you live in a nursing home, you are most afraid that someone will put you there!" "After that, you are just afraid of dying, not the part that happens after, just the actual dying part."

Who isn't afraid of death! Death is the ultimate unknown experience, something we all have to face . We go through that veil of death all alone even if there are many loved ones around us.
Here's a comforting thought! Medical studies say that because of the altered body chemistry, there are moments of euphoria right before you die. I'd say we can thank God for that!

Happy Halloween to you! Here's some (kind of) spooky stuff...

 I've learned that it's very common for people in hospice to see their relatives that have passed on just as if they were actually there in the room.  My opinion is that perhaps these loved ones are just hallucinations or perhaps they are spirits who are really there just trying to comfort them, encouraging them to cross over that river and not be afraid.

I've also heard  there's a well known ghost story about a haunted "give me assistance" button that goes off as if it were pressed but when the staff responds, it's just an empty room. Who pressed it? (I can assure you it wasn't Mom's roommate.) :)  Bwaahhahhahaa!

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