I switched places with Janet yesterday and took her place going to group 7 which includes several memory care units. She will replace me next week at the same places. All went well – it was a pleasant visit. The last lady I visited in Georgetown Living Assistance on Shell Road – Bette – really touched my heart. She is in her nineties and mostly deaf. She had lived with her daughter and husband after she retired for about 10 years. They are no longer able to provide all the care she needs, so she was placed here. She is an engaging woman who talks rather loud, because of her deafness, but is able to hear and understand if you talk loudly and slowly. Her only physical ailments seem to be connected to low blood pressure and advanced age.
I enjoyed our visit and gave her Communion. She seems a very faithful woman and understood everything that was happening, recognizing that the Consecrated Host was the Body and Blood of Christ. Some of the other patients – even those much younger – do not and then they do not receive but are only prayed with. Near the end of my visit Bette started to cry. She was so lonely and did not want to be in the assisted living home. She had cared for herself for many years but now was no longer able to care for herself. I tried to comfort her as best as I could, but in such a situation, how can anyone comfort her.
Bette’s daughter thinks she has dementia, because Bette has difficulty finding the right words now and then. I know that Bette’s problem is not dementia. She is merely old, and the brain synapses do not work as quickly as they once did. Bette doesn’t see her family very often; I am not sure that even her daughter comes to visit that frequently. Because Bette did not have enough money to provide for her care, the daughter is helping to pay for the living arrangements.
After almost an hour I left Bette. I was quit distressed at the lady’s situation. She is still so full of life and yet her body is failing her, as it fails all of us as we age. I thought that doing this – visiting the nursing homes – was getting to be too much for me. After the rain yesterday, the mud the dog brought in before I left for Church, my water faucet failing as I tried to clean up Lillie’s mess and then visiting Bette – I was overwhelmed.
I talked about her to Larry and then emailed Janet, telling her that I was considering not signing up for next year. Larry later suggested that if I really was concerned about Bette, I should go visit her on a regular basis, perhaps every other week. It seems doable though not easy. Perhaps as a friend said, we should listen to our husbands.
I will call the home today and see if a visit is allowed and then make plans from there. The nursing facility said that my visits would be welcome. They recommended after 1pm as Bette has TV programs in the morning she likes to watch and then lunch is at noon. I will go and see her. I need to find a magazine or something to bring with me.