Daily Archives: August 7, 2014

Dynamics of interaction

I’m sitting in social security waiting to pick up my records. The waiting room it’s full. In one corner, there’s two women sitting and chatting. They brought an elderly woman with them in a wheel chair. When they parked her, they moved her past themselves, and have her facing the hallway. She looks bored. She’s belted into the chair, so I’m assuming she has Alzheimer’s or dementia and is considered either a fall risk or a nuisance. Honestly, I would be a nuisance if no one bothered to interact with me or bring me anything to do when expecting a long wait. All she can do is watch people. It’s fine if that is what she enjoys, but she looks so bored. And she’s being excluded from any interaction with the people who brought her…

I’ve seen so much of this in nursing and group homes with individuals who don’t/can’t really assert themselves. We leave them excluded thinking that they don’t realize we don’t want to deal with them…  when I worked briefly as a rec therapy assistant at a nursing home, I saw them drug and restrain so many elderly people. They interfere with the staff’s daily routine, so they were deemed a risk to themselves for staff convenience. My favorite little lady loved to walk. She would truck up and down the halls all day long, not bothering anyone. As time went on, she became a fall risk. They gave her a wheel chair.  She zoomed up and down the halls. She would come to my groups, but not want to sit still for participation, so I modified her role in the group. Instead of asking her to do the same as the other residents who could handle sitting still, I brought her up with me to help out. I managed to get her to participate in every group I held because I was flexible enough to meet her where she was. When she wasn’t in groups with me, she was rolling over toes as she zoomed the halls. Management felt that she was too much of a nuisance, so she was soon drugged heavily. My assistant went from being an active and interactive participant to a drooling mess… it broke my heart. When did we go from respecting the people in our lives to treating them like problem animals? It’s really sad…