Lily* is a small woman who came to this facility more than two years ago. Previously she was in an Alzheimer's unit at another facility. When she first came here she was quiet. I thought she was overmedicated. It took some time for her to get used to things.
My driver at that time knew Lily. She had lived nearby and had helped Lily as a volunteer and as a paid caregiver. She said Lily only needed a little help at first. But eventually, Lily became unable to care for herself and her home. When she was found wandering the neighborhood regularly, Lily was admitted to a nursing home.
After she arrived here, Lily spent most mornings sitting in the front lobby. She always had her purse over her shoulder and across her body. Clearly, she wanted to keep her possessions secure.
In the last year or so Lily has done much better. She became friends with another female resident. They spent most of the afternoon watching TV in Lily's room.
Lily watched out for her roommate, a 50-something woman, who had a stroke. After Lily finished each meal she moved to her roommate's table and sat there until her roommate was finished eating and started heading back to her room.
Lily also made friends with our computer guy (resident). He is in his late 30s and Lily treated him like a son. When she injured her shoulder a year ago, computer guy visited her in her room several times a day. It seemed to help her stay clear about what was going on. When she was better, he continued to pull her chair out at her table in the dining room.
Despite her small stature, Lily had lots of might. If a topic was important to her, she stayed on it until someone listened to her. If she felt an aide had acted inappropriately with either her or her roommate, she went to the office to talk to someone about it.
Last week, Lily was moved to a smaller sister facility in this town, which has residents closer to her age. An aide told me Lily asked what she had done that made her have to move away. When she talked to her daughter on the phone she said, "I do not want to move, my friends are here."
Her roommate and computer guy have called and talked to her at the new facility. I hear she is adjusting, but she still misses her friends. I am hoping she can make some good friends there so she can feel more comfortable and secure.