There is a nursing home here in New Rochelle, New York I have always respected. Small in size, a caring staff and an owner who takes very seriously the responsibility of providing good care for each resident. I refer families to the nursing home frequently. Is there something “in it” for me you’re wondering? Just the peace of mind of knowing that a resident’s needs, for the most part, will be attended to. Perfect? No. That’s often a word that eludes those agonizing decisions that often come with the nursing home decision.
And so it was that last week I was visiting with one of my clients at this nursing home. She was in the day room. Entering Peggy’s world of dementia, we talked about the dog in the room (not there), and her daughter across the hall (in Maine). But truth be written, I was distracted by the woman, perhaps fifteen feet away from Peggy who was crying. Yes, the aide put her arm around her and asked why she was crying. I wanted to tell (a polite word) this aide she was probably crying because she no longer had the words or the necessary intellect to verbalize how miserable she is in her state of tangled confusion.
Neither the aide’s hugging nor the talking were helping. But sitting inches away was another resident. Perhaps a loving mother, a devoted wife? I’ll never know. But I do know that on some level she understood this woman’s pain. Perhaps as she once did for her children, she took both of her hands and extended them slowly into the palms of this tearful woman. Back and forth, around and over she cradled this woman’s hands. And with each movement the tears lessened until a look of calm came over the woman’s face.
Simple acts of kindness. How comforted I was to see that kind heartedness and compassion did not rob the mind of this doting woman, but remained nestled in her heart.