May 7, 2015

Learning From the Elderly: Personal & Professional Growth

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Ramblings Thoughts, Discussion, Current Events, Elderly, Injustice, Abuse, Support, Neglect

It is no secret that my full time job (the one that pays my bills right now) is as a dietary manager at an assisted living facility for elderly people.  I plan the menu and cook for some very picky, sometimes annoying but special people.  They all have a special place in my heart.

There are some residents that are very easy-going as long as they are fed, have their medication and have an endless supply of fresh coffee.  There are a few that want me to play cards with them, sometimes they whip the pants off me in rummy but there is always good conversation and plenty of laughs.

Then there are the difficult residents that are a problem for some of the staff.  But one of those residents in particular, I have a great relationship with and never had him be a problem for me.  Yes, he has been involved in verbal and physical altercations with other residents but whenever I am there I am able to get him to walk away from the situation and to calm down.

Now, reading his history, he does have a problem with controlling his anger and he is not willing to admit his part in any wrong-doing for his whole life.  But he also have a softer side to him, he helps some of the women residents get down when they have to use the stairs or he will hold the door open for him and he takes care of his roommate who has frequent nosebleeds or gets weak.

I believe his outbursts and anger has to involve either his upbringing or a possible mental issue and the worse part about it is the fact that he is not getting the proper psychological attention he needs to help him learn how to manage his anger.  Whether it is because the doctors do not care or the fact that he will not open up to them, nothing has been done.  Why is it hard to find a psychologist that he feels comfortable to open up to so that he can get the proper help?  Instead, it feels like they are in the mindset that this is how he has been his whole life and there is nothing they can do to change that....well I don't believe it.
Rambling Thoughts, Elderly, Injustice, Talk about it, Discussion, Needing Help
Unfortunately, because he was not given the proper tools to better manage his anger, he got into an altercation with a woman resident, was arrested and now removed from the facility.  Where does he go from here?  In and out of jail?  Does he keep getting bounced around from facility to facility until there are no other facilities to send him to?  This seems like a major injustice to someone that is in his later years of life.

I am glad that I am working in this facility because it has allowed me to grow my personal and professional thinking.  I say this because there was another resident that I wanted him to be arrested and taken out of our facility because he stole from the other residents, the staff and the facility.  But going through my feelings about losing the resident I was close to (even though he was a grump), I realize that just because these people made the job a little bit difficult in one way or another, they both do not deserve to go to jail because neither one of them received the proper help they needed to make better decisions.  This is something that makes me look at my personal life because there are people that I have ill feelings for and I need to look at whether or not they truly meant to harm me or just did it because they did not have the proper tools.  As a professional (when I do start working as a psychologist) I need to keep in mind that no matter how much someone has rubbed you the wrong way and you do not agree with their decisions, there will be someone else that make you realize that everyone has a story; why they are the way they are.  The common factor is most people who act in a way that causes problems is because they do not have the skills or knowledge to change their actions.

What are your thoughts? Don't we owe it to people to make sure they have the skills to change their actions?

-Rambling Holly

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