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Relocated during cleaning

March 16, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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After the resident rooms on my hall had been stripped and waxed, I knew mine could be done any day. Several days later I was told I would be moved to room 14 (which was empty) my room was cleaned, painted and the floors were stripped and waxed. Even though I wanted my room spruced up, I dreaded the relocation.

On the first cleaning day, the maintenance man was delayed and it took longer than I expected to move all my stuff to one side of empty room 14.

With no desktop PC to use on the first day, I rolled around the halls trying to entertain myself by looking out the windows. Since I am not able to help with the moving or organization of my belongings, I felt frustrated. I went to the end of the hall near the laundry room where there is little foot traffic and cried quietly.

By late afternoon, when I usually lie down, room 14 was ready. It is painted a lighter color and more sunshine comes through the window. Even back on that cold January day, the room was quite warm—85 degrees. The aides quickly closed the heat vent and opened the window for a few minutes. My fan was set on medium and the room became more comfortable.

Room 14 is the complete opposite of my room. The door is to the right of the bed, while my room’s door is on the left. So everything was backwards. I had to transfer into bed from the right, which I never do, and it was uncomfortable. The next morning my aide moved my bed so I could again transfer from the left.

The female resident in the room next to 14 cried at times. It was heartbreaking listening to her—and the aides were unable to quiet her. With no resident room across from 14, it is quieter. The combination of an overly warm room—and a stressed-out me—allowed me to sleep well.

The next day my desktop PC was usable and I got into my usual routine. I realized if I was anxious about being moved for cleaning at age 66, I can only imagine how an 86-year-old would feel.

A friend, whose parents lived in a nursing home for several years, told me when some residents there were moved out of their rooms for cleaning, they became so disoriented they had to be hospitalized. In a quieter environment, they calmed, had their meds adjusted, and were returned to the nursing facility.

Two and one-half days later, my room had been painted a lighter, greenish-yellow and the floors were clean and shiny, which pleased me. In hindsight, the arrangements the staff made worked out pretty well.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...