how do i help residents cope with death?

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how do i help residents cope with death?

Postby Amanda » Mon May 05, 2003 12:56 pm

i 'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but i figured that seeing as it was to do with work, i might as well.

i've worked in a rest home for the elderly for a year now, since i were 16. as it's a residential home, i'm sure you could imagine that people die quite often, especially during winter, or when the weather changes. it sounds cruel, but this doesn't affect me much - if a resident gets ill, i sort of disattach from them (it's the only way - if i were devestated after everyone of them died, i'd never pick myself back up again). after a couple of months, i sort of became immune to it.

the thing is, that most of the people who have died so far didn't have any family, like a husband or children. if they did, then the family didn't seem too bothered about coming to visit when the person was alive.

right, to the point now - a few weeks ago, we had a couple come in for respite for a few months. these two had been married for 64 years. as soon as they came into the home, they brightened the place up, because they were always telling jokes and laughing, and talking to the other residents, which made them happier too. (i'll call them jack and edith, for the sake of this post) anyway, jack had a bad chest and had to use oxygen at night to help him breath.

about a week ago jack died. he got pneumonia then septiceamia, and just died. i can handle this, after all, i've been working there for a year now, i should be used to it right? i never thought on what i would do if someone was left behind though. i went into ediths room the day after jack died, to see if she wanted anything. nothing could have prepared me for the look of sheer grief and heartbreak on her face. i had to get out of there as quickly as possible, before i started crying along with her. luckily for this lady she has a lot of friends and family to talk to, but they can only visit every so often.

when the rest of the residents found out (would so happen that the biggest gossip among them overheard staff talking) they all seemed upset too. some people they know for years and don't seem to care. jack was only there for a couple of weeks and definately left his mark.

i just don't know what to do and how to act. some of the ressies have already got over it, and the others will in time, but i'm more worried about jacks wife.

i'm sorry it's been such a long post, i felt like i needed to maybe ask for advice on how to handle it.

any replies would be greatly appreciated

XxX Amanda XxX
"All that is gold does not glitter..."
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Postby Cazza » Tue May 06, 2003 3:03 pm

Hi Amanda,

Let me first of say I think it is great what you are doing, and I think its wonderful how much you care.

Losing a loved one is very hard no matter what the circumstances, and I'm sure "Edith" is hurting a great deal. All I can really say is be there for her, if you have time and she wants a chat, then give it to her and if she gets upset and you feel as if you are gonna cry, then be strong and if they come out, is that so bad? You said he left his mark on everyone, and he has def left his mark on you. Shouldnt you be allowed to be a tad upset. All I can really suggest is be there for the residents when they need you, and you will hopefully learn from this experience

Hope this Helps :-?
Love Carri-Ann x

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thanks

Postby Amanda » Wed May 07, 2003 6:31 pm

the thing is though, that i was warned not to get attached to anyone, and i was doing really well with it. it's just when someone goes really suddenly.

as you said, at least hopefully i'll learn from this in the future. it's no good me trying to help the residents if i'm gonna fall to pieces. :(

thank you for taking the time to reply :)
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Postby Kit » Sat May 10, 2003 12:46 am

Hi Amanda,

I'd just like to say that unfortunatley it doesn't really get any easier. My mum also works in a home and like you she was told not to get attached.

Easier said than done, sometimes my mum was really upset when people died and there was nothing she could do.

She's been working in different homes for nearly 10 years now, and she still gets upset, unfortuantley hun it's one of those things. The only thing you can do it try and help the other residents get through it one day at a time.

Sorry if this doesn't sound positive, all I can say is, chin up and keep doing what you're doing. Helping people the way you do is wonderful.
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thank you...

Postby Amanda » Wed May 21, 2003 2:24 pm

thank you - your advice is very much appreciated!
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