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Friday, May 22, 2020

The wise manager

My post on Mike dying in a nursing home -- "Who Democrats kill" -- triggered another tale of the Pandemic Panic, this time in an assisted living facility.

The reader said, "Your story really hit home because I think my wife and I saved my mother (crossing fingers). Mom is 94, and living in an independent senior facility near us. Up until March she was doing really well. She enjoyed her apartment, the social activities, meals and amenities provided. She particularly enjoyed Friday afternoon happy hour with live music. She did her own laundry, showered every day, made her bed, and occasionally cooked her own dinner. At least twice a week we visited and either brought dinner or took her out to a restaurant.

"Come mid-March, the lockdown started. No visitors except essential caregivers. Meals were delivered to their rooms (cold by the time they got there). The beauty salon, drugstore and all common areas were closed. No socializing, and masks were required to go get your mail. Within three weeks, she went into a massive decline. A lot of mental confusion and she mostly stopped eating. She complained constantly that she was too tired to do anything, even to take a shower. She did have a physical therapist who was visiting her twice a week. Based on the therapist reports and our conversations with her, we realized we had to do something.

"Starting about two weeks ago, we decided we were going to visit her every other day until this is over. We showed up and announced that we were not visitors, but her essential caregivers. To their credit, the facility managers agreed with us, as long as we agreed to have our temperature taken and wear a mask while walking to and from her apartment.

"To make a long story short, she is completely back to her prior self. My only regret is that I didn't take action sooner."

The facility is managed well because its management realizes that relatives give an essential care that no drug or other treatment can provide. As the woman whose mother was blind, deaf, and dying told me, touch is the last sense you lose. Certainly it is the most important.


  1. Yes I bring my Wife a Chocolate Mocha everyday.
    I call her before she goes to bed, and Window visits as often as possible. (when it isn't raining, hailing, or thunderstorming. Because of this she's actually doing well. Helps to have smart management who care for the residents..

  2. “Honor your father and mother.” Seems like I’ve read that somewhere. Another Joe Mama moment...

  3. After reading the stories about abuse, neglect, and so forth (look for the video of the guy beating up on patients), I told my wife that if it ever came to the point where I had to be put in a nursing home, just leave me by the side of the road.

    1. I'll move over and make room.

    2. We need a designated spot, so we can all gather at the same place. At least we can keep each other company

  4. Essential caregivers. Brilliant and good for them! File that away.

  5. Or why not do it the Asian way? bring her home and the family takes care of her? if you have kids, she can be your unpaid nanny while schools are still closed and you have to work.