From Astra, aged 86, August 2014
Care in the house of silence or sleeping in the house of care
Following on from my blog in June, I’m still stuck in the same inappropriate and isolating care home in north London. Little has changed except that now I need more self-control than ever to avoid screaming inside myself at the lack of any one with whom I can have a chat or a laugh. I need a break from the silences at meal times, game times, exercise times. As I said in my previous blog, the residents are either deaf or have dementia or both. One of the staff members said to me “your wings have been clipped” (how can I fly again, I ask?).
I’m still on a waiting list for a self-contained flat in a sheltered housing estate. I wonder if a vacancy will turn up by my 87th birthday (30 November). Or will I have to carry on for another year? Or more? I try to concentrate on the positives: a room of my own, daily clean sheets/towels/clothes/hot showers, reasonably tasty food and very important, helpful carers. In fact, in my previous blog, I neglected to praise the carers for their patience, stamina and good humour. It’s not their doing that I’ve been misplaced into a care home while I wait for that elusive flat.
Before I landed in this home there were gardening, singing, drawing, bingo, etc. Now there are only weekly seated exercises and bingo. Further indoor and outdoor activities would greatly benefit all of us, but government cuts have obliterated all so-called non-essentials. The sweet-smelling garden hardly used at all except by myself is a missed opportunity for fresh air and socializing. The carers could benefit from training to stimulate the residents to sleep less and move about more even though many of them seem to prefer TV and dozing. Are they heavily medicated, I wonder?
Now I’m looking for a mature, daily volunteer to keep me company when I go for walks and do exercises. I need to be able to walk unaided as I used to do before my most recent fall (1 ½ years ago).