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Wanted: A room of my own

September 2, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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A few weeks ago, I was working at my PC when the activities director came in and said I would be getting a roommate in an hour. I wondered if she might be coming from a facility 40 miles away the Department of Health shut down because it had no air conditioning for over a month.

A few minutes later, two housekeepers came in and started moved my things that had migrated to the other bed. I guess we tend to take up all the space immediately around us sometimes – with the help of others.

Though I felt like I was being invaded, I focused on my work and tried not to be stirred by them moving things. I asked if they could try to keep my things somewhat organized and keep my electronics together. They said they would. Before lunch, everything that was not immediately needed was put onto a wheeled cart and taken away.

While they were working, I offered it would be good to stay on top of the clutter buildup by allowing a housekeeper to go through my room every couple of months to see what needed to be stored and throw away what I did not need. My things tend to get stacked in different places. Though some aides are OCD and straighten them up, others either fail to notice or do not have the time.

Since it was almost lunchtime, one aide asked if all this moving could be done afterwards. Her entreaty was ignored and the housekeepers kept on working.

I have been in a semi-private room ever since I came to this facility. Twice, another resident was moved into my room without much notice. The whole moving process astounds me because two or three housekeepers can do it so quickly. But, like everybody else, I have feelings about my stuff and like to know where it is going. I do have to say the whole process made me feel inadequate.

After lunch, I was anxious about the roommate and wondering what she would be like. Getting a roommate gives me a hollow feeling similar to homesickness. I am not sure why that happens. Maybe I feel my survival is threatened. My roommate did not come that day.

Since then, one female resident, who was here for a short time, left and that bed remained empty. A new female resident arrived a few weeks later. She was assigned the empty bed in the other female semi-private room.

I was relieved that I did not get a roommate. Everyone here knows I prefer being alone. Even though I have been able to adapt to two other roommates here, I certainly do not relish it.


Kathleen Mears

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