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Long-Term Care

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“This Is My Life Now”
An interview with a nursing home resident
By Sarah Wood

(Page 3 of 3)

Have you ever told anyone else? I ask. “What good would it do? They don’t like it when you complain. Besides, things get worse sometimes if they found out you complained.” There was some silence between us for a while and I know that’s when she has said all she care to about some topic.

Is there enough to do? I ask. Are you ever bored?

“Oh, yea. Waiting for lunch, that’s the worst. Usually we just sit there and wait and wait. Then where lunch comes, it’s the same old thing. I think it all taste the same. I can’t have salt. And I can’t have too much cholesterol. I can’t see the food very well. It all looks the same. I love chocolate. But, everybody keeps telling me I can’t just eat chocolate. Then, the nurses complain that I’m getting too heavy to lift. It takes two of them to move me. They can’t do it with just one of them like you can. They need one on each side of me. That’s why it takes them so long to help me to the commode. Because they have to go find someone to help them. And, no one is ever available. So, I wait and wait. That’s all I do these days. Oh, they try to make sure there is something to do, I guess. Except for right before lunch. You have about an hour with nothing to do but wait. I would just rather go to bed and read.”

Are you happy here? I asked her.

“I’m as happy as I can be. This is not the way I thought my life would turn out. THIS is my life now. This is it. I’ll die here, I know I will. I don’t want to. But, people die here all the time. This is were they come to die. This is my life now. Waiting to die. I know now why my husband shot himself. He didn’t want to get old and helpless and die in a place like this. I understand now…” She looks around her room a little and shrugs: “ This is my life now.”


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