We took you to a Care Home around 18 years ago and you spent quite a few years there. (Mum passed away in 2012). It was very strange to us at the time, and very hard for you to adjust. However, we all did.
Care Homes are all different and, of course, there have been many changes over these years.
However, one of the very important things that is still the same, is the human element. You just cannot underestimate the human element, the carers, nurses and all staff. They are what make a Home.
As we started visiting on a daily basis, an alien place became our 2nd home and a whole new world opened up to us that we had never dreamed of before. New routines, adusting timings, driving to and fro, buying more practical clothes and labelling everything, ensuring you were well cared for and always on the lookout for problems or health issues. Yes, we adjusted.
Did you adjust, Mum? Yes you did. Why is that? You resigned yourself to the situation of course. Is that the real reason? No. The real reason is because the staff were loving, caring and had a beautiful vocation that one cannot buy. I said previously that the human element is what makes a Home. This is not a sweeping statement but the honest truth. Being there on a daily basis, one could clearly see what the true picture was.
Dad, you visited Mum every single day and the staff grew to love you too. You watched and experienced the Care Home life along with Mum and you witnessed their true dedication, and sheer hard work, for hard work it certainly is. My family and I also witnessed this and I understood that, without a vocation, it was difficult to be in the dementia ward. A person with dementia could be quiet and calm. A person with dementia could be very agitated, difficult to cope with and even violent. One of the Carers nearly suffered a broken arm because of the roughness of some residents. Sometimes their hair was pulled or they faced very difficult moments. We watched and observed and learnt to appreciate their utter dedication and genuine care for all of those in the dementia area.
I am not saying that everyone was perfect, far from it. However, the memories and faces of those wonderful carers will never go away and we will always be utterly grateful to them for taking up this vocation and working as hard as ever to look after our loved ones.
Mum, your 8 year stay at the Home was a good one. The Home had a lovely garden and we always took you out there when the weather permitted, which is most of the time in the Maltese Islands. You loved the cats that purred and came to sit on you as we sat on the bench. It was a very calming part of the time, peaceful, quiet and lovely to enjoy those wonderful plants and flowers.
As time went by, you stopped talking and you could barely move but we knew you were looked after.
I have to say that the Managers of the dementia area also had a hard time, especially with relatives. We all wanted or needed different things and, with a smile, they tried to please us, sometimes moving mountains to satify us. One of those moments was in the last month of your life, Mum. We did’t wish to take you to hospital, and we were not able to take you back home, so we, together with the Home, obtained the necessary medical items to make you as comfortable as possible in your last days.
Yes, my family and I will always be grateful for the love and care we all received, not just Mum, and this blog is for them. They are the ‘unsung heroes’ and they are what make the Home. You can have an old building or a modern one, you can have all the amenities or you can have just enough. Being comfortable is very important. However, if you do not have the right staff, those witih a vocation, then it doesnt work. Mum, you had these wonderful people, these incredible carers who dedicated their lives for others. As much as I believe that your suffering on this earth facetracked you to heaven, I also truly believe that these carers have a place waiting for them too when they pass on.