My short bio: Hi, I work as a night care assistant in the UK for a residential home specialising in care for the elderly. I've been doing it for a few years and love it. I've never worked a day job in my life, opting to work night shifts when I was offered a contract and I just fell into it naturally. I'll answer pretty much anything I feel I'm allowed to. Be intricate and loving, but always wear your gloves!

My Proof:

Comments: 119 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

jenniferjuniper7 karma

What are some things that one would typically not know about these facilities unless they worked in them?

motherstep16 karma

It's very emotionally draining, especially on nights when it's paramount you get enough sleep to get you through another shift. Your patience can wear thin when residents take a while to do things or appear to be off with you. I try to remember it isn't their fault, I'm there to do my job and I'm there to be their shoulder. Whatever they need, I get, and whatever they need doing, I do. It can be quite relentless. My residents don't sleep all night either - they're quite active, often showing a completely different side when the sun sets.

daraand5 karma

This seems incredibly draining. How do you stay active and happy?

motherstep9 karma

Honestly? I'm not. A lot of my hobbies are very inwardly focused - I read a lot, I write, I draw, I produce music and I occasionally see my close circle of friends. I wouldn't consider myself a happy person but I look after myself.

wardialer19762 karma

My suggestion would to never go into Hospice care. It sounds as if you have trouble decompressing and dealing with issues. You should read up on compassion fatigue.

motherstep2 karma

Compassion fatigue? Sounds like something I should look into. A close friend of mine thinks I may have autism as well, which was a little extreme but I'm taking it pretty seriously.

Fattydog2 karma

Surely if you're on night shifts, then you are meant to be awake all night on the lookout for patients who start wandering or get confused? Does your home make you do night shifts followed by day shifts? If so this is appalling.

motherstep3 karma

No, we have set shifts - one team for nights, another for days. Different job roles but we all aim to do the same thing which is provide a safe environment for residents to live in, eat well, socialise, keep busy and stay active. I don't just look for wanderers; that's just a small part of my job. I don't think it's legal to work a day shift after a night shift and vice versa.

Fattydog1 karma

Apologies, I misunderstood your bit about it being paramount you get enough sleep. i realise now you were talking about getting enough before starting the shift.

motherstep4 karma

Ohhh, now I see why that can be misconstrued. Yes, I should have been more clear - I meant sleeping during the day in between shifts, because it's harder to do and regardless of how much I get I still have to feel refreshed enough to attend work.

ChopstickAKAJames2 karma

Could you expound upon how residents' rights or a culture change in long-term care has allowed your residents to maintain some level of autonomy when it comes to when the eat, sleep, or shower?

motherstep8 karma

Do you mean following routines? If so, we promote independence whenever possible. We have set meal times of course and even days where we give baths to residents, but it is completely their choice and we will adapt our schedule around their preferences as best we can. I always like to think I work in their home; they don't live in my workplace.

finnmeister1 karma

I know that's right. I would start very early in the AM. Usually around 5, sometimes a touch earlier. So it would still be "night" to a lot of these folks. One home, there was a group always in the sitting room. One of the ladies would sit there the whole time I was there and do this:

"Lady! Laaaady! Do you know what's going on here? I can't move my arms. Help me! Oh. I guess it's OK. I just had to move the blanket. Help! Help! My nose is bleeding!! Oh, it's OK. It was just dripping. Heeeeelp! Help! Help me!"

And she would do that all the time. I asked the nurse once "does she do this all night?" and the nurse said "Yep. And most of the day, too". I was like "IDK whether to feel sorry for her, get mad, or laugh". And the nurse said "Yeah neither do we".

motherstep1 karma

Yeah, I don't know either. It's a mixture of sadness, endearment and amusement. I try to make things as comfy as possible.

finnmeister5 karma

I've done similar work (traveling lab tech who goes into care facilities).

A couple questions for you:

  1. What do you do when someone is actively dying and there's no one who's come to see them? I sat on the end of a lot of beds, talking to someone who maybe couldn't hear me (tho they say hearing is the last sense to leave).

  2. What's the grossest thing you've ever had to see or handle?

  3. What's your One Thing? Everyone in healthcare has one. Blood, vomit, stool, eyeballs, feet, all that I'm OK with. What brings me to my knees gagging? SPUTUM. I just can't with sputum. I'm always like "Is that going to end up on me? Because I don't want that on me. Like, at all. It's going to end up in my hair and I'll have to light my hair on fire because it will never ever come out. Also is this person going to stop breathing like right now?"

motherstep7 karma

  1. I talk constantly. I go to their rooms as often as my schedule permits and I talk to them. I don't care if they don't know who I am. To hear something said to you in a nice tone and you feel there's genuine interest, I can't imagine there's much better when you're in that position.

  2. A vile case of diarrhoea that was like black tar gushing out of someone. They had a nasty virus brought back from the hospital and it was just a nightmare. It was everywhere. We had to bin almost all of the bedding. Washing it would have been impossible. I'm not usually bothered by fecal matter but that smell has stuck with me.

  3. I can't handle phlegm at all. Sick, blood and other nasty substances don't phase me at all (usually, see above) but I just can't deal with phlegm. Just saying the word makes me feel queasy!

Futsi3 karma

I just want to say that as a non-English speaker I have never before heard about anything called "sputum" or "phlegm" and so I'm quite sure that you are just making up words.

Those are some nice sounding words though. :)

motherstep3 karma

Sputum and phlegm are unpleasant enough words, but if you want clarification, it's the thick substance that is commonly coughed up. Looks like clear jelly. Disgusting stuff. Imagine the cough from a smoker multiplied by 100.

Futsi2 karma

You got to keep learning, I guess...

Have you always been able to handle the disgusting side of the job? Something you just got to get over with during the training I guess.

I always wondered how all those young stars-in-their-eyes medical students react when they realize the other side of their job.

motherstep1 karma

I've never been bothered by piss and shit. It's just a fluid to me. It's something we all do. My residents do it too. I just get on with it. It's all come from the human body and that's all we are when you boil it all down so how can I judge or express disgust when it's in all of us? I just clean it up and move on!

thumbprint111 karma

That sounds like c.diff. Super gross, distinctive smell.

I was on a unit that had an outbreak once. 18 of the 24 patients on the unit had it, it was terrible. We had to put them all on isolation and we frequently ran out of isolation gowns and had to steal them from surrounding units. It was a nightmare.

motherstep1 karma

Yeah, about 14/15 months ago the dreaded "noro" virus (or whatever it was called) swept through the home, none of the staff got infected luckily but about 70% of my residents suffered.

diMario3 karma

Hi there. I'm a Dutchie from the Dutchlands, and my father was in a care facility for several years after suffering a stroke. My brother and I visited him regularly, and I like to think those visits were the highlights of his days there.

Unfortunately he was unable to speak as an effect of brain damage due to the stroke, but I am sure that if he would have been able to speak he would have described his being there as a fate worse than hell. You could see it in his eyes. Death came to him as a release.

I must say, the staff was very caring and loving, but there were the usual religious nuts among them (my father hated all things religious with a passion). Also, the staff was very overworked and welcomed any help they could get from me and my brother.

I'm not sure there is a question in the above, just wanted to vent a little bit.

motherstep5 karma

Not a problem. It's nice to hear the positive. Unfortunately, I hear more negative things than positive and that can be taxing. I'm happy you're satisfied and don't think we're monsters, haha. I myself am not religious but I do know of some. It's just as tiring for me - trust me.

BUNNY_SEX3 karma

How often does beating/abuse of patients occur in elderly residential homes? The reason I am asking is because both of my grandparents have been in homes and I was always curious about this sort of thing.

motherstep9 karma

In my experience? Very rare. The cases you hear on the news are disgusting. Everything is recorded and suspicious activity is monitored very closely. The people I have worked with have been gentle and kind people who really do want to help. That's why they're in the job they're in. They wouldn't last if they didn't want to do.

cmyk30005 karma

We made the difficult decision to place our grandmother in a dementia care home when it was no longer safe for her to live in her home with home care nurses. The staff were angels and so dedicated and caring. I still remember them fondly. Just want to say thank you because you sound the same. :)

motherstep8 karma

Thanks for that. Like I said, it's refreshing to hear praise when all we seem to get are negative comments. Thank you!

stillragin2 karma

White toilet seats black or white? Preference? Carpet color changes, good design or death trap hole of infinity?

I have been told that I would look better without pants on- what is your favorite sexual comment from a resident?

Lastly what is your favorite war story that you had the honor of hearing?

motherstep3 karma

White - all carpet colours are subject to change, and we welcome all schemes, food or otherwise. If it's a hazard or unhygienic we'll clean it however, so no jazzy patterns.

Sexual comments? Ohhh, I get a few risque ones. My favourites are the women that say they could teach me a thing or two, and all I can do is chuckle. My all-time favourite quote though was from a man - I asked him if he was a lover or a fighter and after a few seconds of pondering he replied "it depends where you put your chin". I loved it.

War stories are something I don't hear all that much of. In my old job, I did have a man who had a false leg made in the same country as he lost his real leg in. He saw the funny side.

JablesRadio2 karma

A friend of mine used to deliver the meals to each of the rooms at a rest home. He told me quite a few stories of how some of the residents would beg or try to sneak out with him. How often do you see this actually happening?

motherstep2 karma

Not too often - we have those that do try to leave (usually at night) but that's because they feel confused and forget where they are. Once I point out how dangerous it is (and because it's England, wet and rainy) they often change their minds and go back to bed.

JablesRadio2 karma

Also, I've seen an example on reddit of certain nursing homes setting up bus stations to look like actually city stations where the residents could get on and go ... wherever they thought ... they were going when the buses would simply make a trip around the block and then bring them back to the home. Do you think something like this would help or hurt?

Edit - I can't currently find the link but will post if I do.

Edit 2 - Not exactly the same, but a similar concept

motherstep1 karma

I've seen that before. It's a novel idea and it does work. It's hard to say if it's helpful or harmful though. It's a good thing to maintain the illusion of normal life but there is a line. I used to think it was quite crafty but things like that are set up for the resident's safety. If such a thing wasn't there, who knows where they'd end up?

radsherm2 karma

Have you seen Ricky Gervais's Derek? If so, how accurate is it?

motherstep1 karma

I haven't, but people recommend it to me. I imagine it'll be accurate to the degree it can be, though I do love Pilkington so maybe I should give it a watch.

SemperFidelis72 karma

I really need to know this, my friend works in an elderly care home as well, she claims that "death comes in 3's" (as in, 3 folks die at a time), is this true?

motherstep2 karma

That's a really common saying, and you can attribute it to anything - I've also heard the variation "bad news comes in 3's". Truth be told, yes, we do get a few deaths all at once and all of a sudden but I wouldn't call it a "rule". It's more of a coincidence. There's no such force ruling that people die in a set number; rather, a common illness can grip people and take them in quick succession to the point it feels like a pattern when really it's just bad luck.

Sorry. No rule of thirds!

Oneinfivepeople2 karma

How old is the average worker in your field? Is there a physical element which means that you couldn't do the necessary assisting to others into retirement age? I'm not trying to offend, I just work in care myself (special ed/different needs) and couldn't imagine helping mobility for my clients for the next few decades.

motherstep1 karma

Average age? That's a new one. It's mostly women, but their ages vary. Many of them are over the age of 30, but we're all there for the same reason so it's hard to say. I don't mind assisting my residents and they don't see it as weird because I've been doing it for so long.

Oneinfivepeople1 karma

I just wondered as part of the care team I am on has recently retired at age 66 and to put it politely, she could not do all the tasks she used to. We would worry she would hurt herself.

motherstep1 karma

Well, at my old job there were a few women over the age of 60 but it was more traditional. Now, the oldest staff member (aside from the manager) is in her 50s.

Oneinfivepeople1 karma

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions :)

motherstep1 karma

No problem. I'm happy to.

MrsKravitz2 karma

Thank you. I am glad there are people like you doing this work. In my close family, we have avoided institutionalization by working very, very hard so our loved ones can be cared for at home. But I have more distant family and acquaintances that have moved to such places, and I worry about them. I know that the terrible stories in the media are the exceptions and the worst cases, but it is still very worrisome when you know that your dear one can't communicate for themselves or let anyone know if something is wrong. It is very reassuring to know there are people like you caring for them. I can't even imagine how backbreaking and soul-breaking the work is. Thank you.

motherstep2 karma

Your family means as much to you as my family means to me. That's how I make the comparison. It's all about empathy.

MadyLcbeth2 karma

I worked as a patient care tech for 1 year during nursing school, and it was the most physically demanding, emotionally draining job I've ever had. Aides are so understaffed, underpaid, and under appreciated. Thank you so much for what you do, us nurses really couldn't do without you!

motherstep2 karma

That means a lot. Thank you so much!

fruitellla2 karma

Do you have any good stories relating to the paranormal?

motherstep5 karma

Unfortunately for many who ask this, I don't really believe in anything paranormal. I've had my moments where I've seen or heard something and thought "holy shit" as the hair on my arms prickled, but nothing I haven't been able to explain. I might see shadows or even figures out of the corner of my eye but they just turn out to be wandering residents.

My colleagues on the other hand are a tad more believing, and have claimed to hear or see strange things. I'm yet to see anything for myself, though.

Shinyteeth2 karma

I'm assuming immediate family is who typically ensures that residents get regular and needed medical and dental care visits. If you find no one takes them and they are unable to independently arrange for care - is there a way to intervene or an existing program to ensure they get proper medical and dental attention (at least on a regular basis, not just for emergency or immediate needs)?

motherstep2 karma

Interesting question, and embarrassingly it's one I don't have a clear answer to. In most cases, there is at least a next of kin who will arrange things such as GP visits and dental maintenance. I do know we have associations with the chemist and every resident has a GP assigned to them when they come to us, so they can at least be seen and prescribed things as we feel they need it. For example, if somebody is consistently unwell, we may phone for their own GP or a call-out service who will come, assess them and perhaps prescribe a course of antibiotics. Health is paramount - as well as ensuring their holistic needs are met, we also strive to keep them as healthy as we can. If I'm not clear enough I apologise.

Shinyteeth2 karma

The reason I ask is that, once in a while I have an elderly patient who gets care once in a while... But whenever I see them, they have plenty of needs. Things are deteriorating fast and they are unable to truly care for themselves (independently). Sometimes, they can't come, but they need to - a year passes and things are even worse than before.

There has been an occasion where I've picked them up myself.

Another way it goes is, the person doesn't want their children to "interfere". Sometimes, they would prefer the aid of a stranger than their own children for fear of being a burden or feeling less independent.

It's a difficult situation.

It just breaks my heart.

motherstep3 karma

It's never easy. Sometimes it's worse being pushed away by the very person you wouldn't have dreamed would do such a thing. If you have concerns for any patients, I'm sure you could ring a service similar to the Samaritans or Social Services to express your concerns. Homes are varied and provide different care depending on people's needs.

It's very sad when you think about it, but we can only do our best. If I've done all I can and made even a tiny bit of difference, that helps me keep going and try and provide even more assistance.

TuRondhu2 karma

So are you called to clean up poo at 2 am in the night?

motherstep3 karma

Yup. Sometimes they won't call. Sadly, some don't know/care. We go on routine checks to ensure personal hygiene needs are met and everybody is kept clean, dry, warm and safe.

TuRondhu2 karma

Wow. I salute you. Personally I wouldn't last a day in such a job.

motherstep2 karma

Thank you. It's draining, difficult, often thankless work, but I enjoy it and it's worth it just to interact with my residents in a unique way. They trust me with pretty much anything and it feels good to be there for somebody.

devonclaire2 karma

Are the residents content with living there? Did they voluntarily move in because they wanted to, or did they have to move there because they got to the point where they needed 24-hour assistance?

motherstep5 karma

Good question. Some do genuinely enjoy living there. Some have been forced to sell their home and move in with us because of failing health, and that again is split into two groups - those that have grown used to it, and those that really miss their own home. I can understand that angle as I'd hate to feel uprooted, but in most cases these people could not survive alone or with the resources they had at the time. We try to make things as comfortable as possible. You of course get those that dislike it immensely, but not as often as you may think. I don't meet many residents that hate it immensely - honestly, a lot are happy to have that support and safety.

esfavorie1 karma

Do you make a livable wage? How many people do you care for?

motherstep2 karma

It's not an amazing wage, but I do alright. I live. I can buy food, pay my bills and maintain a social life. At the moment I care for 40 people.

Dmcx351 karma

-What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Thanks for the AMA!

motherstep3 karma

It sounds soppy, but the smiles and gratitude I get from my residents. I have a good relationship with them, and my colleagues are for the most part really nice and (obviously) caring people. I don't dread going to work very often.

Thank you.

wwro1 karma

Are you there right now?

motherstep1 karma

I am not. I was however there last night and haven't slept yet because I'm trying to reset my sleeping pattern. I have a few nights off.

wwro1 karma

Lol gotcha. My wife works overnight per diem on the skilled unit at a similar place and she refuses to talk to me when she's there because she's too busy. Figured if you can do an AMA she can send me a text or two :)

motherstep1 karma

It's not really permitted, but I do use my phone to text or browse Reddit when it's quiet. However, nights are often very busy and we barely get enough time to fart.

wwro1 karma

Ah so you are a gentleman. I know this because women do not posses the ability to pass gas. ;)

motherstep1 karma

Indeed, I am a man.

Women do fart though my friend - I've been on the receiving end far too many times, both in pleasure and business!

wwro1 karma

Haha I refuse to believe it. Been with my wife for seven years and never experienced it.

Though the dog farts surprisingly often when she's around...

motherstep1 karma

It's a conspiracy.

GuapoWithAGun1 karma

What's the weirdest thing you've ever walked in on?

motherstep1 karma

A woman stood by the window, silhouette illuminated like something out of the Addam's Family. Very eerie, and weird, as she had been there a while.

ryanleePY1 karma

How do you typically feel and how do you deal with those feelings when an elderly whose children haven't been visiting were to ask when their kids will visit?

motherstep2 karma

I feel saddened because I love my own parents and grandparents to death and couldn't bear to neglect them. I have to accept people are sadly built different and don't hold the same values I do. I can't change how they think, and getting annoyed with them solves nothing. Instead, I try to be as close to a relative as I can.

beepbeep_meow1 karma

Do you have a favorite resident? What are they like?

Also, thanks for doing what you do. I couldn't. My great aunt was in a small, run-down nursing home when she had advanced Alzheimer's, and the staff was amazing! Everyone was really warm and they all knew all the residents by name. She didn't have much more than a brain stem attached to a body by then, so I don't think she noticed that her caretaker picked flowers for her room and whatnot. Still, it was a comfort to us to know that she was being well-cared for.

motherstep1 karma

There are different kinds of favourites to me if that makes sense - there's the well behaved ones who don't give me any trouble, and there are the ones that misbehave and constantly make dry remarks. I love both.

TempPrivacy1011 karma

What sort of living arrangements do you think would be ideal for you as you age to the point where you have difficulty taking care of yourself?

motherstep3 karma

That's a hard one.

I don't like to think about it, because I really don't know how I'll develop in life. I'd hate to be a burden on anybody, so just shooting me in the head and throwing me to the vultures would be fine.

frothy-when-agitated1 karma

When someone passes away, how are they taken out of the facility discreetly?

I ask because I have a family member in one of these places and to get someone from their room to out of the building, they'd have to go through the day room/cafeteria. I just can't imagine they'd wheel someone who's deceased on a stretcher through a public area like that.

motherstep3 karma

That sounds like poor planning, because usually there's a route out of these kinds of buildings that don't necessitate passing anybody. If in the unlikely event somebody passes in the day, we close the doors to communal areas and have a member of staff floating about to distract residents or generally make sure the more wandersome don't cross paths with the unpleasant sight of a stretcher being wheeled out of the building. Obviously it's a little easier at night, but I imagine it's tricky in the day.

ChopstickAKAJames1 karma

First, thank you doing this amazing work. As a gerontologist focusing on gender and sexuality, I have way too many questions for you, but I will try to limit my inquiries.

What kind of cultural competency training have you received in your education/training? Did it include any training on LGBT social identities?

How do you handle sexual encounters between residents?

motherstep1 karma

My training hasn't specifically dealt with LGBT social identities, but only because it isn't so common in elderly residents in my experience. Despite this, we're trained to respect everyone and be tolerant as our beliefs are bound to be different and it is far from personal. As for sexual encounters, I'm going to be honest and say I haven't seen much in the manner of that kind of behaviour. If I haven't answered your question, do feel free to message me and I'll be happy to elaborate.

asymptotex1 karma

As someone entering the EMS field for the first time, I have heard more complaints and horror stories about nursing homes than any other aspect of the job. Nursing homes have a terrible reputation for institutionalized neglect and substandard medical care. The relationship nursing home staff have with EMS and hospital staff is typically hostile at best.

Can you tell me about your experience with EMS? Do you have generally good or bad experiences with paramedics? What should a paramedic know about you and your job that would help to understand your position better?

motherstep1 karma

I generally have a good relationship with paramedics. I think a lot of the hostility comes from conflict of interest - I feel they think I'm wasting their time when I call emergency services for what seems like a banal and pointless reason. In truth, I have to telephone the emergency services at the slightest drop of a hat. If I ignore it, I could face scrutiny in my own workplace and risk my job. It's better to be safe than sorry and while I may look like a bit of a dick to paramedics who put me right, it really isn't my place to make decisions like that. I have to phone them in certain situations. I wish I didn't have to but that's how the mop flops unfortunately. I understand that it's a trivial matter but the fact is I'm only doing my job and it's company procedure to phone 999.

Ideally, I'd like paramedics to know I am not deliberately wasting their time. I know they have more important things to deal with at the time, but if I didn't phone them, I would be put under a lot of pressure by my boss and risk losing my job. We're all in the same boat. I don't need cynicism from paramedics.

However, as I said, that is a rare case and I do generally get on with paramedics. They're largely sympathetic. I just wish everyone thought the same.

minnick270 karma

I dispatch for a private ambulance and have two questions.

1: Why is it when you call for an ER run and we have a long ETA and recommend 911, you will still take the 90 minutes?

2: Why is it you could have a 0530 dialysis patient go out every MWF and they are never ready until 0615 except for the day we dont get there until 0545 and you call 5 times in that 15 minutes?

motherstep1 karma

  1. I can't answer that as that sounds very unfamiliar to me. Are you in the US?
  2. Again, I'm not familiar with this. We phone for an ambulance once and then wait. There's no sense in ringing again.

Iamactuallybaines1 karma

Is there a lot of paperwork? I have a friend who talks about the requirements of recording a lot of information about the daily care on the computers (even the carers etc)

motherstep2 karma

I don't use a computer at work. Every resident has a file which I have to record in. I state if they've slept well, if they had any supper and medication and how they've been through-out the night in general. There's also fluid and turning charts but that's all paper based.

KoloheBird1 karma

I know some of the signs but how can we detect a Transient Ischemic Attack in others? How is it different than a stroke? What should we do if we think someone is having one?

I've had some very limited first hand experience seeing a loved one go through a TIA, but didn't know what it was when it happened the first time. I'm a little rusty, and I'm sure lots of people have never witnessed one. It might be good to fill people in!

motherstep2 karma

TIA symptoms are very similar to a stroke - limbs are heavy, droop to one side of the face, slurred speech, poor balance and coordination, dizziness. There is about a one in 10 chance those who have a TIA will experience a full stroke during the four weeks following the TIA. If you have had a TIA, you should contact your GP, local hospital or out-of-hours service as soon as possible.

uliarliarpantsonfire1 karma

I worked night shifts in several special needs adult group homes which are somewhat similar to nursing homes so I sorta know where you're coming from. It's a hard job and often unappreciated you sound empathetic and wonderful so thank you for doing a hard job. My question would be what would you change, if you could change anything to make it better for you or the residents.

motherstep2 karma

Well, my routine involves both putting residents to bed and getting some up in the morning. I'd like to focus on just one of them so I could dedicate more time towards it. I'd prefer to put them to bed and then after shift change-over, the day staff are the ones to get them up. In an ideal world, that would make my job a little less stressful and more comfortable for my residents I imagine.

uliarliarpantsonfire1 karma

I totally understand, I really enjoyed the bed time part too. Usually they were tired and I had one patient who wouldn't go to bed until I came and read him story. It was nice. Mornings were more unpleasant because I was a human alarm clock to them, and no one is happy to hear the alarm go off.

motherstep1 karma

Indeed, I hate getting them up in the morning. I'm lucky to work at a home where if a resident doesn't want to get up, they won't do and I am not to force them. It sounds like that should be a standard everywhere but I've worked in some places where there is very much a numbers game being played. It's very unfair.

uliarliarpantsonfire1 karma

Ah with our residents their lives were a little different they attended day programs where they either spent the day in a school like atmosphere or would have a job to do ie: greeters at Walmart or a sheltered workshop where they assemble products etc. They had to catch the van to work. The goal of the homes I worked in was really to work toward them being more independent so they might eventually move out into a less supervised home. Most never did but there were a few that made such progress that they were able to live with a roommate that was also special needs and maybe only have staff for a few hours a day. But even to the ones that never made it to that point having a job did seem to give them a purpose and pride. The people you work with likely have retired after a lifetime of work so it's a little different my residents were usually in their 20's to 50's.

motherstep2 karma

Ah yes, my residents are all over 70, with the exception of one man who is in his 50s and maintains a busy social life out of the home by either volunteering at a garden centre, seeing his mum or line dancing.

gotshadowbanned1 karma

In all seriousness, have you ever had residents shuffling towards you and you thought it was the beginning of the zombie apocalypse?

Maybe they weren't responding to your voice or making sounds and getting agitated?

motherstep1 karma

I've had a few moments where I thought something was very wrong, but not as far as zombies, haha. Very similar though.

nosillaprincesa1 karma

Thank you so much for doing what you do (as well as hosting this AMA)

A few questions (feel free to answer as many/few as you'd like)

  1. What's the ratio of lucid to senile individuals in the home you work at (or does it depend on the time of day, etc... Do most people seem to know who/where they are?). Have you been able to make close friends with any of the residents (or is this not possible your shift consists of them mainly sleeping?)
  2. How has this job affected your perspective on the phrase "living until a ripe old age." Would you yourself be hesitant to dwell in a nursing home/experience your twilight years (if they weren't in impeccable health?)
  3. Sometimes I have free time during the week, and I love using myself to help others when I'm available. Do nursing homes allow volunteers to come and keep residents company (hold a quick chat, bring them small gifts, etc..)
  4. Last one! My mother works as an unemployment claims advocate (for the company represented), and one of her clients is a nation-wide nursing care facility. You would be amazed about what some care workers would do (before getting fired). One lady actually took selfies of herself (while on call) with nursing home residents being unattended to in the background (one man had fallen out of his chair in the middle of the hallway behind her, omg). Anyway, do you experience a lot of inadequate coworkers or people there for the wrong reasons (i.e: just the paycheck). If so, how are they dealt with? Do you and other coworkers openly shun them or are eventually fired for something?

Thank you so much! Sorry to write so many, haha!

motherstep1 karma

  1. It's about an even split between them. I have grown close to many and vice versa, because some have a late bed time, or some buzz for me in the night to help with toileting or just because they're cold/bored, which is fair enough. I know some better than others obviously, but I do see quite a lot of all of them.
  2. It's an eye opener, and I realise just how lucky elderly people are who don't have to live in a home. That isn't to say it's necessarily a bad experience, but given the choice I'd much rather support myself. Knowing what goes on, yeah, I'd be happy to spend some time in a home, but I don't think I'd want a permanent stay.
  3. Hmmm... I had to to think if I had encountered anything like that, but honestly (and boringly enough) I haven't. We all use our phones in quiet periods but only briefly and it doesn't ever encroach into our jobs. I would never use it in front of a resident, or in such a manner that it violates privacy or concentration. I've had smaller issues like laziness and whatnot, but all I have to do is report them to a senior member of staff and they're dealt with appropriately. There is one woman on days who was an all-round bad carer and after so many chances she was dismissed, but I don't know the full story there.

motherstep1 karma

Sorry, I wrote 4 as 3, haha. Here's an answer to 3.

It varies from home to home, but I imagine many would like the fact you're willing to go and visit some of the lonelier residents. Some don't like visitors but some welcome them so I'd give them a call and see what they can arrange.

nosillaprincesa1 karma

Thank you for replying so promptly! You seem like a great human :) Congrats on what you do, and on maintaining such a caring and patient demeanor. Good luck on all you continue on to accomplish! You contain a lot of depth and insight, for sure.

motherstep1 karma

Thank you very much. That means a lot.

SirAvoMcado1 karma

My aunt is a care taker at a home somewhere in the states. And she says that a handful of the workers are very disrespectful. One time when she first started, she told me of this old woman that never wanted to be left alone but she didn't say why. 2 and a half months later she had a night shift and so she decided to go see the old woman. As she entered she noticed a male care taker zipping up his pants and just walked out. The old woman was shaking in her bed. Are there stories like this where you work?

motherstep1 karma

Sounds horrifying. Nothing like that goes on at my home. On nights, we all have a dark sense if humour but we invite the residents in to share it with us - they're never victims of anything of that sort. We love them like family.

leell1 karma

My grandpa keeps saying he has needles/splinters in his foot. But when I look its just dry but he does have patches of red skin under his foot. One patch even has broken skin in it. What is that? I'm desperate to fix this problem of his and don't know who to turn to. Please help.

motherstep1 karma

Might be a circulation problem, but I'm only going off where he's feeling it (extremities) and what the skin looks like (red and dry). Does he feel it anywhere else? What medication is he on (if any)? Of course, I'm no doctor, I can only tell you what I know. I'd suggest going to a podiatrist.

CharistineE1 karma

I can't say I have any questions, but just want to say thank you for doing such a difficult job.

My grandfather had alzheimer's and when we could no longer care for him at home, he went into the dementia ward at a local residential home. One of us (my grandma, his kids or us grandkids) would be there pretty much all day and evening in shifts but since we all worked, there was no one overnight. He kept trying to get up and get out to go home. I can't imagine how hard that is.

1 person there really stood out to me though. One lady's husband was dead and she didn't remember that. Her son, apparently, was the spitting image of her husband when he was younger and she kept thinking that was her husband. Her son had no problem with this because it made her happy to have her life-long partner back with her. The ONE issue he did have is when mom tried to put the moves on him. Luckily he could laugh about it.

motherstep1 karma

It's crushing when that happens. All I can try and do is meet them on their level. I can't bring them to me because their mental state won't let that happen. Instead, I try to relate to them. I ask them questions, I try to make them feel relaxed and valued. It's amazing how people settle when you make them feel like somebody really does give a shit. We all like to feel that way.

[deleted]0 karma


motherstep1 karma

Many. I've had to deal with many residents who disliked me. I have to take into account they may not like because I'm a male and I'm significantly younger, so once I can eliminate that bias I can try and relate to them. I'm fortunate to have information about them in my care files so if I can at least relate for a few minutes, we can strike up conversation. It doesn't always work but it gets easier each time.