Who cares?…..

This morning I attended a Spring Tea with my dearest Dad, now one month in the care division of his retirement village.  He has entered the next fragile phase of his life, now part of  a different group of residents and we are still getting used to the new circumstances.

The guests (the residents) arrived:  some in their wheelchairs, others with their walkers and a few more on the arm of a caregiver.  The hall is decorated in spring colours.  Jaco Losgelaat, an emerging singer, is the entertainer. The staff served us the most delicious snacks.

I watch all of the activity and for a moment I am overwhelmed by my emotions.  I have to dry a tear of gratitude on my cheek – gratitude for this special place where my Dad now lives.  Here staff and caregivers are not doing a job, they live out a passion.

I think about their job description:  bath resident; dress him/her;  assist  to brush teeth, comb hair;  make bed;  tidy room;  take washing to laundry; assist with breakfast; make him/her comfortable in chair;  start activity to occupy him/her;  take to lunch;  put to bed for afternoon nap;  help out of bed after nap;  serve tea/coffee; assist to supper;  put on pajamas;  put to bed; put off light. Oh yes, they still need their medication too!  And what about everyone’s whims?  Not to mention the demands of the families?!

It is so easy to see when there is someone else’s trousers in Dad’s cupboard, or when his washing is not packed away immediately, or he did not get to the library as requested… but for one moment let’s think about the incredible responsibility, the incredible patience and the incredible love that is needed to care for (sometimes very difficult) fragile seniors day in and day out?

I have never seen impatience from the staff and caregivers  when visiting Dad. Neither a frown on a face, nor a voice raised!  Always just smiles, friendly voices, care and the sometimes hilarious telling of incidents which happened.

Today I salute every caregiver at Panorama Palms Retirement Village, as well as every person in this world caring for fragile seniors, in the last season of their lives, with lots of love and care.  I have the privilege to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest knowing that someone else, a caregiver, loves my dad almost as much as I do.

Not many elderly people get long-term care insurance. It's expensive and many hope their kids will look after them instead.

WIE GEE OM?….

Ek woon vanoggend ‘n Lente Tee by saam met my liefste Paps , nou ‘n maand in die Versorgingsafdeling van sy aftreeoord.  Hy het ‘n volgende fase van sy lewe betree, is nou deel van ‘n ander groep inwoners en ons raak nog gewoond aan die nuwe omstandighede.

Dis tyd vir die gaste (die inwoners) om te arriveer:  sommige in hul rolstoele, ander met hul looprame en nog ‘n paar aan die arm van ‘n versorger.  Die saal is vrolik versier.   Jaco Losgelaat, ‘n opkomende sanger, sorg vir die vermaak.  Die personeel bedien ons met die heerlikste eetgoed.

Ek hou al die bedrywigheid dop en vir ‘n oomblik oorweldig my emosies my.  Ek druk ‘n traan van dankbaarheid op my wang droog – dankbaarheid vir hierdie plek waar my Paps nou woon.  Hier doen elke personeellid en elke versorger nie ‘n werk  nie, maar leef ‘n roeping uit.

Ek dink aan hulle posbeskrywing:   bad inwoner;  trek hom/haar aan; help met tandeborsel; kam hare; maak bed op; maak kamer aan die kant; neem wasgoed na die wassery; help met ontbyt; maak gemaklik in stoel; gee aktiwiteit om te doen; neem vir middagete; sit in bed vir middagslapie; help uit bed na middagslapie; gee tee/koffie; neem vir aandete; trek nagklere aan; sit in bed; sit lig af.  O ja, hulle moet nog pille ook kry. En wat van elkeen se grille en giere?  Om nie eers te praat van die families se eise nie?!

Dis maklik om te sien as iemand anders se broek in Pa se kas is, of sy wasgoed nie dadelik weggepak word nie, of hy toe nie by die biblioteek uitgekom het soos gevra is nie….  maar dink net vir een oomblik aan die ongelooflike verantwoordelikheid, die ongelooflike geduld en die ongelooflike liefde wat nodig is om (soms baie moeilike) seniors dag in en dag uit te versorg.

Nog nooit het ek ongeduldige personeel of versorgers gesien as ek by Paps gaan kuier nie.  Nie ‘n frons op ‘n voorkop of ‘n geirriteerde stemtoon nie! Net altyd glimlagte, vriendelike stemme, omgee en grappige vertellings as daar dalk ‘n insident was.

Vanoggend salueer ek elke versorger by Panorama Palms Aftreeoord, asook elke persoon in die wêreld wat verswakte seniors in die laaste seisoen van hulle lewe met soveel liefde en omgee versorg.  Ek het die voorreg om elke aand met ‘n geruste hart te gaan slaap, want iemand anders, ‘n versorger, is amper net so lief vir my Pa soos ek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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