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Support from Family and Friends

Seniors at Home:  The Value of Support from Family and Friends

Rosemary arrives at the emergency department.  She is looking for her friend, but how on earth is she going to find her?  As a senior living at home, she often must navigate unfamiliar territory on her own.  There are a lot of people wearing hospital uniforms, but they are walking fast and looking busy.  Rosemary sits in the waiting room for a while to see what happens.  A very nice looking young man in a police uniform or maybe a security uniform, walks by and she asks him how to find her friend in the emergency room.  He directs her to the triage booth, but they are busy so they ask her to sit down.  Rosemary gets her turn and insists to the staff she is not sick but wants to see her friend.  They call Georgia’s nurse and Rosemary is walked back to see her.  Rosemary enters Georgia’s room to find it empty, the nurse states that Georgia is in x-ray right now and will be back in about 20 minutes.  The nurse invites Rosemary to have a seat in the room to wait for her.

Rosemary sits on a very hard, cold folding chair, watching television in the room.  Rosemary cannot figure out how to change the channel and is too short to reach the television on the wall, so she watches a sport fishing program.  Georgia is wheeled back into the room and starts to cry when she sees Rosemary.  Rosemary is concerned, but Georgia states that she is so happy to see her and she is not in too much pain as long as she does not try to move her leg.  Rosemary suspects that Georgia is trying to be strong for her.

Support from Friends and Neighbors

Family members and adult children of seniors do not always live close by.  Seniors living at home often rely on friends and neighbors for support in the event of a crisis until family members can arrive.

Rosemary is a close friend to Georgia and although Rosemary does not make medical decisions for Georgia, she is there to provide company and support for Georgia.  If a patient arrives in the emergency room unconscious the presence of friends, family, and neighbors can assist the staff in innumerable ways.  Friends and family provide medical personnel with information such as medical history, medications, and background information about the patient.  Being present with a friend or family member in the hospital also provides a second set of ears for the multitude of information that is passed to the patient.  It is a lot to take in when the patient is under stress, in pain, or if they have received pain medications that may alter their ability to think clearly.



Comments (0) • Posted April 11, 2011

Author: Julie L., BS, BSN, RN
Julie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, as a clinical nursing instructor, and as a director of clinical services in home care.

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Rosemary’s Party is Over

Independent Senior Living:  Rosemary’s Birthday Party is Over

Rosemary’s birthday party was yesterday.  She is feeling tired today and decides to take it easy.  This is fine with her as she enjoys puttering around the house and reminiscing about the party she had yesterday.  The whole family was at her home for the party and yes, there was cake.  Mr. Garrison dropped by the party to have some punch, but Jackson was off running a marathon in another city, so was not able to make it to Rosemary’s party.  Her son would no let her do anything for the party and would not hear of her serving food for the guests, even though it is her house.  She sat like a queen on the couch while everyone milled around her.  It was nice to see the grand children; it is difficult to understand what they are talking about these days.  It is all cell phones and gadgets; they hardly seem to pay attention to what is going on in the real world.  They are always bent over those cell phones clicking, tapping, and typing.

Nicole, Rosemary’s daughter, was able to fly in from Denver for the party.  That is a long way to travel for one day.  Too bad she does not live closer.  Rosemary imagines the possibility of taking the bus to visit her daughter in Denver.  She does not want to burden her, and shelves the idea for now.  It would be quite an adventure though.

Rosemary received a journal as a gift for her birthday from her granddaughters, it is pink with a cat on the front it is apparently a Hello Kitty journal.  Rosemary used to journal a little when the children were young.

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Comments (0) • Posted March 14, 2011

Author: Julie L., BS, BSN, RN
Julie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, as a clinical nursing instructor, and as a director of clinical services in home care.

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Rosemary’s 78th Birthday

Senior Independent Living:  Rosemary’s 78th Birthday

Here we introduce you to Rosemary, her family, and her community.  Although Rosemary lives alone, we learn how her community keeps her safe in her own home, so she can maintain her independent lifestyle.

Today is Rosemary’s birthday and the whole family will be in her house for a late lunch; Rosemary hopes there will be cake.  Rosemary discarded the idea of making a cake for her birthday; no one should make their own birthday cake.  That would be silly.  Rosemary’s son and daughter-in-law insisted that they will be bringing and preparing the whole lunch as well as the cake.  Rosemary likes to prepare meals for the family, but it has been a long time since she has had the chance.

Rosemary lives alone in a one level rancher in a smallish town in Washington State.  Her son, Alex lives 12 miles out of town with his wife Jen and their two daughters, Kelly and Gwen.  Rosemary’s daughter Nicole, lives in Denver and visits twice a year, she has no children and is not married.  Rosemary was widowed 4 years ago, when her husband, Bob of 52 years died from a heart attack.  Rosemary has been handling things around the house well.  Her husband had kept up the maintenance on the house so thoroughly, that Rosemary does not have much to do except manage her tiny garden.  The lawn is mowed weekly by a neighbor boy, Riley, who is 13 years old and according to Rosemary, is often careful not to mow her flowers.

Rosemary has a unique relationship with two of her neighbors who keep an eye on her.  Her neighbor across the street is a retired schoolteacher named Mr. Garrison.  Mr. Garrison who prefers to be addressed by his last name only, makes sure that Rosemary picks up her newspaper every day from her front steps.  Mr. Garrison will knock on her door if he sees that Rosemary’s newspaper is not picked up by 1100 am, to make sure she is alright.

Rosemary’s backyard neighbor a 30 something bachelor named Jackson, makes sure that she turns off her back porch light every evening before bed.  If he does not see her light turned off before he goes to bed, he stops by to check on her.  This system was set up during a backyard BBQ last year and it makes Rosemary’s son, Alex, feel better about his mother living alone.  Rosemary of course thinks that this is all a little silly.  She feels that she is doing fine going about her business and finds this a little intrusive, but likes both of her neighbors so she does not complain.  She once forgot to turn off her back porch light and Jackson knocked on her door, she was a little embarrassed.  Rosemary has not forgotten to turn off her light before she goes to bed since that incident.  Jackson is always wearing those funny running shorts and she would rather he did not come over wearing those.

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Comments (2) • Posted March 7, 2011

Author: Julie L., BS, BSN, RN
Julie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, as a clinical nursing instructor, and as a director of clinical services in home care.

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