Retirement Home And Loneliness

Retirement home and loneliness

Every time I visit a retirement home, conflicting emotions arise in me. On the one hand, I feel great joy in the existence of these fantastic centers that take care of our seniors. They are treated with all kinds of care and the work of all of these professionals is admirable. On the other hand, I get sad. I was doing my internship in a nursing home and the staff told me that there were some elderly people who had not had visitors in months.

Every now and then I visit my uncle in the old people’s home. He is very well taken care of, clean and full. He’s not that old yet, but he’s no longer able to take care of himself. He has no partner and no children. The best decision he could make was to go to the nursing home. He is fine, he seems happy. They say he is well behaved and has gained a few pounds. I like to visit him and then invite him over for a cup of coffee. He greets me in a good mood and laughs, even if he confuses me for my brother most of the time.

The old people’s home and the sad corridor

When I see my uncle in his room, I have to walk halfway across the building. I take the elevator and from the elevator to his room I take a corridor in which several older people are always sitting in their wheelchairs. You can barely move. When I reach her, I always greet her with a big smile. Some look at me and smile, others look at me without changing their expressions. Still others do not notice my presence. Whenever I go I see the same people sitting there. Still alone.

Some of them are still silent, their heads bowed, and I wonder what is going on inside their heads. How must her life have been? Most of all, I wonder if they ever imagined that they would end up confined to a wheelchair, motionless, and lost sight; consumed by life, loneliness, illness or all at once.

Older man

I remember meeting an elderly gentleman during my internship who shared his room with a woman who just laughed and screamed. It was a gentleman, in principle, but he was violent. He was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease so that he could barely speak.

One day I went out to spend a little time with him. I sat down next to him and began to be interested in his life. He expressed himself almost exclusively with monosyllabic words. Finally, I was able to get him to tell me his place of birth, which I happened to know. Then, little by little, I began to get more words out of him. At some point he smiled at me.

They are just looking for affection

One day, as I was walking down the hall, I heard him scream. I went into the room he was in and found two assistants trying to get him up to wash, but he just shivered.

I entered the room. He saw me and fell into the chair, completely relaxed. I found the key. I had the answer right in front of me. Behind this expressionless look, with almost dry crystalline eyes and severely impaired cognitive abilities, hid a person who only wanted to be loved.

In fact, the issue of affection and camaraderie is so important to these people that Gea Sijpkes, director of the Humanitas residence in the Netherlands, started a project: in 2012 she decided to give students free accommodation in the residence in order to to spend at least 30 hours a month with their residents.

“You cannot avoid the pain and disabilities that come with age, but you can improve people’s quality of life.”

Gea Sijpkes, director of Humanitas

Behind this is a soul that wants to connect

Both in the old people’s home where I did the internship and in the one where my uncle is, I have observed that the shadows of loneliness hangs over the faces of the elderly. The specialists at these centers have a lot of work to do and cannot offer the necessary support. It makes me even sadder that no one is there for some of the seniors. Not even a visit. In each of them there is a soul that wants to connect with another. The loneliness consumes them little by little.

This society teaches us that it is only worth caring about what is functional, from which we can benefit. It saddens me to see that when many families believe that their elders are no longer “contributing”, they take them to a retirement home, leave them there and very rarely visit them. These seniors have had a life, they have a history, they have given part of their lives for us and we are failing them.

There is no doubt that in many cases the residences are a great alternative and that thanks to them many of our elders enjoy excellent care. This article only aims to highlight the loneliness and abandonment that many of these people experience. As if they were a burden, in such centers they are forgotten.

Shaking hands helps a lot

The old people’s home and its great work

Due to work-related, economic or temporal circumstances, many families cannot take responsibility for caring for older relatives if they are no longer independent. That is why they decide to hand them over to a retirement home. But whenever you can, go to them, hug them, kiss them. Despite staying in a nursing home, there is no room for feelings of abandonment. The residence becomes a new home, where they live with other seniors and their family visits them frequently.

We should not forget the great work of all these centers, but neither should we forget our relatives who live in them. Years ago they gave their lives for us and we are what we are thanks to their work, their commitment, their upbringing.

To be by their side when they need us, to give them the time they have devoted to us, so that they can see that they are not alone and that they can always count on us? Can we do less? Because, let’s never forget, we are in this world thanks to them.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button