June 2, 2014

Lessons from Shady Pines #814

"Help!" Helen would holler from her room every single time I passed by whether I was coming or going.

The plea for help is not uncommon at Shady Pines. The residents get help when they need it, but often times, the residents cry for help when they don't know what else to cry for. Unfortunately, we've had to caution The Daughters to resist the urge to help. They cannot physically help a resident to a chair or bed or from a table or chair.

So, to make things easier, we have told The Daughters that the best way they can help a resident to to tell one of the caregivers.

It's still really hard, though. When I hear that frail, elderly voice calling "Help," my heart breaks.

And last week, I caved without even thinking.

"Help," Helen called as Daughter 1 and I walked by. Without thinking twice--forgetting my own rule--I walked into her room.

"What do you need Helen?" I asked as Daughter 1 was hot on my heels hissing about how I just needed to tell someone so I wouldn't get sued. The letter the nice judge sent us has all of us viewing our actions from a litigation stand point.

"Um ..." Helen stammered as she looked around her bedside tray before focusing in on a tissue at the very edge. "Could you put that in the trash?"

That, I could do. I smiled and tossed it in the trash, bid her a good evening, and we left.

The next day, I walked by Helen's room on my way to my mom's room. I beat Helen to the holler. I poked my head in her room and said, "Good afternoon, Helen!"

She smiled and barely lifted her hand in a wave to me. "Hello, dear!"

When I left, as I walked by, Helen hollered out, yet again, to me, "Have a good night!" I smiled and wished her the same.

Helen really didn't want help as much as she wanted interaction ... as we all do. My help doesn't always need to be lofty and strong efforts that everyone can see, but can be as simple as a smile so that another person can be lifted up in spirit instead.

...help the weak, be patient with everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:14b


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