Analyze This

The real problem here, is that there are simply too many beings with dementia of some kind.

I suspect that this is the major issue in most institutions dealing with the elderly.

The second related issue is that “Patient Assistants” simply don’t know the basics of how to deal with these people, especially the more aggressive ones.

First of all, like in a classroom, it only takes one to disrupt everyone else.

So yesterday was a bit of a fiasco getting to the July 4th BBQ which was not in the dining room but in the garden on the ground floor. It took forever to get there because dazed people would go to the dining room floor in the elevator with their walkers, look out and not understand what to do.

I’m in the back trying to explain that it’s July 4th and lunch is in the garden. I press the button and we ride down to the ground floor where the garden is. Nobody moves. I am not close enough to stop the door from closing and after yelling “this is where lunch is,” and “everybody out!! last stop. MOVE!!! Free food…” the door closes and we start the next ride up where everyone on every floor has pressed the up button.

After a few rides like this, I eventually made it to the big celebration.

The grilled food was delicious. I was like a camel, storing water for a desert trek. Three hot dogs with sauerkraut and one hamburger. I ate until I couldn’t eat any more.

Then a man wearing an Elvis hairdo and Hawaiian shirt plugged in a Kareoke machine behind a brick wall (almost no one could see him but he said that was as far as the cord would reach) and sang Elvis songs.

You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen the Dance of the Rollators. All I can say is that it’s too bad I still can’t really get around because I did want to photograph that, just for the record, but I still have shaky hands, and it took me about five minutes to get out of a low heavy chair.

Even then, I’m best off just writing it down here.

I got sidetracked. I wanted to write about the inability of the “blue coat Patient Assistants ” to deal with the more aggressive patients. And by gosh, that’s what I’m going to do.

I went up to breakfast for the first time in a long time. I wanted to let the ex-boxer know that I was going to stop by his room at 1PM and take him down to the case manager to help him get his phone turned back on.

His bill hasn’t been paid for a few months, and every meal he takes it out of his pocket and stares at it. “I owe them money,” he says. “How do I get a job around here?”

I ask him how was it being paid in the past. He just shrugs his shoulders.

I tell him that his case worker has been managing payments all this time. He looks surprised and asks where and who is that. I tell him.

Meanwhile, out in the hallway, a guy who is due to come up for the second seating is told that he should come back in 40 minutes.

“40 minutes! You and her. Big bitch and little bitch. Got nothing better to do? Wanna report me! Go ahead. Report me. 40 minutes. I might as well come back tomorrow. Maybe next week! Bitches!”

There are a bunch of people who arrive an hour early every day. They wander in and fight or just sit in the hall with blank expressions. The dining room probably has the space for two seatings but not the staff.

So I say to the ex-boxer: So what’s going to happen at 1 o’clock?

He just stares at me. This is less than 5 minutes later.

He asks me, “what?”

“I’m going to knock on your door and we’re going to the case manager.”

“What for?”

“The phone? She has been paying for your phone. Maybe she can help you.”

He just says, “oh, yeah. Thank you.”

I know he will have forgotten by then. But it is hard to watch someone you’ve grown to like deteriorate before your eyes.

Meanwhile, in the hallway, by the time I’m leaving breakfast, one of the blue shirts is engaging with the man who is too early. Every time he calls her something, she descends to his level and calls him something back.

It goes back and forth until she pulls out a cell phone and starts to video him cursing. He remains vitriolic. Til finally a supervisor comes by, tells her she’s just making things worse and to ignore him.

I ask myself, why did I decide to go up to breakfast? Oh, I wanted to remind the guy about the case worker. I could have done it at lunch, but one of my sisters is coming and I figured I’d save her that experience.

Published by Dave

My name is David Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City. Or I was before I had two strokes. I now write from a Nursing Home.

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