Today I sat down with a lovely lady who has been in a psychiatric hospital for over five years. She appeared as “normal” as you or I, maybe even more so than me on some days! The purpose of the sit down meeting, was to have her move in to our facility. It was my “assignment” to persuade her to agree to move in, forsaking her “home” inside the mental facility.
She explained to me how she has her own home, but has been working for the CIA for many years by reading the minds of unsuspecting people;gathering data and using it to deter an alien attack. ” I am now looking for a place to retire to. I have my own home, but my work keeps me too busy to enjoy it.”, she offered. Hmmmm…..I was caught a tad bit off guard with the information she was sharing with me. The case management team that had brought her to my facility, sat quietly, waiting for my water-to-wine miracle.
You know,as the baby boomer population ages, I think we will see more and more mental health diagnoses in long term health care, outside of the standard label of dementia and or Alzheimer’s. I think we will see the long-term effects manifested of both living and playing hard. We are a generation of always on the go, from work, to soccer, to school plays, choir rehearsals, basketball games, constant ringing phones, constant screen time of big screen, little screen, medium size screen, to buzzing, vibrating, beeping and blinging while cleaning, washing, cooking, folding, carpooling and bed making……we are a busy people with busy lives rapidly zipping to the end of our rope……WHEW! I am exhausted from thinking of the thinking things I have to think about while thinking. I do not know how you or I will age…..I don’t know where our happy or not-so-happy place will be…..but I do believe we will be the nursing home generation that suffers from an identity crisis. Think about this……for the most part, the generation we are tending to in long-term health care facilities, most of the ladies were homemakers…Their day consisted of the typical Mrs. Beaver activities…..Now today, most of us ladies have the schedule as listed above, from carpooling to screen timing……soooo, when we are in the long term facility, who will flip the switch from chaos to serene? Who will stop the blinging, the beeping, the mania we once knew? How will we adjust to humdrum when all we have known has been zipping about? Will we internalize our identity and allow our minds eye to take us to a happy place where we will be CIA operatives, on a silent mission to sort through alien life forms? Instead of seeking to “go home” at dusk, will we be bracing for an unsuspected ambush of the bad guys? Will we use our call bed cords as cell phone type devices, sending and decoding messages to the patient at the end of the hall? Just what will nursing homes and assisted living facilities be like in the lifetime ahead? Hmmmmmm…….watch out future…here comes a whole new pack of old timers….the new old kind……I pity the administrators that must oversee our care…….
So, Im sure you want to know what happened. Did I turn water into wine? No. I have no idea of the outcome, not yet anyway. But I do know this…..I could sure a glass of the wine about now, as soon as I cook dinner, clean, walk the dogs, fold the laundry, run to the store………….