Miss D has not been home in almost 8 months. I assumed with the judge’s ruling Miss D would go home with 24 hour care, it never occurred to me she may not. I am struggling with this idea of home for Miss D. On one hand, it is her right to go home to the apartment she has lived in for over 50 years. On the other hand, she’s in a very good secured location and has made friendships with the staff and other residents.
As Miss D and I walked out of her room, an aide is having difficulty guiding a confused resident. Miss D puts a soft hand on the resident, turns her around and says, “It’s this way to the dining room, honey, follow her.” The aide tells me Miss D is so kind and helpful with the other residents.
Last week Miss D and I returned to her floor from her usual ice cream cone at the cafe. She starts crying and doesn’t want me to leave her alone. “I’m going to be all by myself.”
I escort Miss D down the hall to her friend Miss T’s room. Miss T is standing outside, tells Miss D not to cry and opens her door. At the far end of her room is a vacant bed perfectly made with Miss D’s green wool blanket. Miss T reminds Miss D she can come stay in her room anytime she wants, her bed is made.
Although, Miss D has not changed her request and each visit she asks, “When am I going home?” – what is home to an 83 year-old person with dementia? I asked Miss D what home means to her today.
Home is everything – family, friends and the meetings. Honey, you needed an appointment to see me I had so many meetings. It was delicious!
Miss D and I stroll the main floor after our talk. She is greeted by staff happy to see her out and about. Miss D introduces me as her friend and neighbor. What I took away from Miss D’s description today was more about involvement and connections than place. It can take a lifetime to form a community you belong to, but if anyone can do it faster it would be Miss D.