In Her Time…

When a person comes to stay with us at The Bridge, the different departments all go and say ‘hello’ and welcome them to the facility.

There are always assessments that must be filled out and at times some of the citizens don’t want to answer questions, or choose not to. When there is an issue getting the information for the Quality of Life department, different people from the department will approach the resident at different times, in hopes they may respond more readily. On occasion, there are incidents where the individual may not be able to respond, and their family or friends aren’t available to help gather the information needed to deliver personalized care.

Several months ago we had a lady come to stay with us, and she refused to talk with anyone from the Quality of Life department. Each staff member tried on multiple occasions to break down the barrier. She eventually started to warm up to some of the other departments, but she still kept that wall up and often acted as though she was asleep to avoid talking with others.

The Quality of Life department continued to visit with her and do one-on-one activities, but she still wouldn’t let them in until one day she decided she needed to go shopping. As Quality of Life Director, I coordinate outings for the residents, so when someone has a special request to do something, they will let me know and I try to make it happen if at all possible.

I was shocked the day a fellow staff member told me this particular lady wanted to speak with me. I immediately went to her room, and she was sitting in her bed totally alert, talking to her roommate. I was so happy to see her and be able to speak with her. She told me she wanted to go shopping, and that she needed some good conditioner and makeup. She said she had done the math and calculated that she should have this amount in her account, and wanted to go this coming Friday. I told her we would do whatever she wanted to do, and that I was just so happy that she had come out of this fog that had covered her for months.

I talked with her for a long time and she was completely different. It worried me that this dramatic change could mean a turn for the worse, so I communicated my fears with the other departments and found that she was clinically fine. When I went to alert the business office of her request for money to take on the outing they told me her husband had been receiving her money and hadn’t put anything in her account. They were in the process of trying to change that but it wasn’t completed. I was so worried that this news would bring back the fog that had kept her locked inside herself, so I went back to talk to her with a heavy heart. I explained what they said and so did the business office manager – and to my surprise, she was fine. She was upset that he hadn’t done what she wanted with her money, but she was reassured that our business office was fixing that issue.

I didn’t want her to lose that desire to go out so we offered to pay for her goods, so she could still go and do what she wanted to do. That day she had me come to her room four different times and each time I was in awe of how lucid she was. For the first time in over eight months, we were finally getting to know the lady that had been right down the hall. When it came time for her outing, her money came in, which made her feel independent and happy with the fact that she was the one making the choices and decisions.

She went out and had a great time, shopped and ate at a restaurant she picked. She came back with a smile that made her look like a totally new lady. She was laughing and talking to the staff and her friend that she asked to go. It was one of those moments we all work so hard for. It was a true honor to be the one who could help make her simple wish happen.

She has continued to talk with us but she still chooses to stay in her room for the most part, but when we go and visit the fog is gone we can see the sweet lady who was hidden for so long now.  She has since requested that she goes out again and we will continue to oblige her for as long as we are able, simple wants and wishes that may seem small can mean so much to so many.

– Jessica Cook, Quality of Life Director