Old Folks’ Home Confusions

The lady in the next apartment is active, friendly and an especially helpful soul.  She also recently took on a job when she took on the presidency of the apartment building residents’ association.  Before she became president many people hunted her up for some reason or another.  Many of the people looking for her never established exactly what apartment she occupied so came knocking at the doors of a few others around, the one underfoot in particular.  That situation is bad.  One woman showed up three times in the last few months.  One mistake might be understandable.  A person with a concern might be in a rush. 

Obviously action needed to be taken.  The bright idea for the moment was a fairly good sized note on the door, with an arrow pointing in her direction.  It messes up the big bow used as a door decoration, but if it saves on trouble going to the door it’s a price to pay.  And, well, it may work, but sometimes it doesn’t.  It seems some folks will not go farther down the hall – her door is between lights in the hall and it’s a kind of darkish place.  It is like that probably on all the other floors, so why there is no going farther, especially with the sign displayed, is not really understandable beyond lack of comprehension. 

There are many reasons why old people might be “confused” a lot.  If they have ailments, the mind is pre-occupied a lot with whatever the problem is.  Walking with some kind of support like a walker or cane needs attention to it or it goes astray.  And, there are everyday happenings to be sorted out.  The rest of the world isn’t immune to things that interfere with clear thinking, but it seems there is more interference with the elderly, which often causes an inordinate amount of nonsensical activity.  The inability to comprehend a three-word sign in big letters and act on what is written there seems to fit that description. 

It can take a while to get into gear.Snail 



Old Folks’ Home New Staff

There’s been a lot of discussion in these pages about how things are “different” in an old folks’ home, which these days is often called a “retirement community.”  There’s a new property manager in the one underfoot, so it is again a somewhat timely topic.  As has been (surely) noted some place here, some of the places are privately owned.  It’s a business of real estate specialty.  Often the ownership is with a giant land company that hires assorted staff to run the place.  That includes property managers.  Many of those are probably fairly well paid, but there’s a lot of responsibility in running a big apartment house. 

In about the last five years there have been three former property managers.  There probably isn’t that much change everywhere, but the thing is a resident may manage to get along well with a property manager only to suddenly learn that person is gone, replaced by a different attitude and approach to the way the place operates.  It’s not a great idea to try to build (and depend on) a great relationship with the people running such places.  One does need to be getting along well with the staff, but substantial change can take place almost overnight leaving one hanging.  The best approach includes remembering it is a business. 

The business depends largely on what residents need, want or maybe think up, but variables still exist and things a person thinks are permanent may very well change not only according to who else lives in the place but according to what someone new (and probably ambitious) wants to try to achieve some corporate goal.  Residents’ associations can provide some input (or opposition) to something, but that is not something on which to put much reliance.  It’s the owner who has the final say on anything, and it has to be assumed that property managers speak for owners, who just might unexpectedly change course. 

Life is uncertain in many ways.Money  

St. Patrick’s Day & Birthday

Birthdays are high in the mind at the moment as there was a real expectation a couple of times most recently of not getting to the current one.  One known relative made it a little past the years of record.  In the building there’s been a number of people that made it well past that; it’s the old folks’ home after all.  However, those were other bloodlines, other conditions of development, other living habits and so forth.  The magic hour did arrive, and this being is still of this world – quite wobbly at times in a number of respects, but still a bit operational. 

Now, this time of the year is the time of St. Paddy’s Day and the luck of the Irish and all that.  This birthday is not on St. Patrick’s Day itself (it be on the 15th); it’s close enough to be overshadowed by the festival of green, which surely makes it better if someone is Irish.  If one is not Irish, there’s a definite feeling of being on some outside place more or less alone, with or without Ides of March, coming Easter bunnies or (once upon a time) income tax day.  Maybe a life-long spot in the back seat is good as it puts a damper on notions of personal importance. 

Maybe birthdays are just an excuse to have a party, or it can be a genuine recollection of an event.  A birth is an especially life changing event for that immediate family, becoming somewhat incidental only after some years.  Much later it becomes a grim reminder of how many years it has been since the “birthing event,” which matters as there’s a general but unspecified limit to how many there will be in total.  Each birthday that passes means one less ahead at some point.  The only “happy” part about it is that an individual has made it through a year that many times. 

So, thus begins another year in this world. Gift with a bowBirthday cakeClock

Animal Companions And Pets

“Working animals,” the sheep dog and the K-9 officers of a police department to name two, have surely been a party to human life since it was first discovered humans could form a relationship with animals.  To an extent, they are often pets as well as co-workers.  It isn’t necessarily a matter of humans training an animal.  If you are doing something, there’s a good chance the dog wants in on the action.  One merely needs to give the critter something useful to do as a part of the whatever.  And, of course, the principle’s a notion that rests well beyond dogs and humans.  Those, the work animals, are in the truest sense animal companions. 

Now in places like the apartment building underfoot, there is little “work” for an animal apart from something like a guide dog.  They are, however, allowed subject to assorted rules or regulations (starting with a deposit to cover any damages).  The person simply wants another somewhat active live thing around.  They’re pets.  However technically the animal is an “animal companion.”  It is not certain that a real distinction exists between the two terms, but there’s a need to make the critters sound useful.  They are not in every apartment, but they might be in a good percentage of them.  Most often they are dogs or cats. 

The net result (especially with the dogs) is a repeated in and out of the place by people taking the animal out to do it’s “business.”  It ties up the elevators.  Sometimes the person’s apartment is some distance from the entry and the animal doesn’t make it.  Amazingly often there’s no notion in sight of keeping the animal on a three-foot lead.  It’s not unusual to have one run underfoot.  It’s also not rare to have one suddenly carry on some noisy barking.  Overall the situation is probably not good for most of the animals in house and they can be detrimental to people around.  As the animals are allowed, it’s something to consider. 

All is not well in retirement.Dog faceCat faceGoat

A Community Estimate

There are 159 apartment units in the building underfoot it says on papers.  That might be a little off.  Sometimes it makes sense to reserve at least one for staff members that are on call ‘round the clock.  While such is an apartment, it’s not under the same conditions as ordinary rentals all of the time as it may, for example, include children while the ordinary doesn’t allow them.  Anyway, it is 159 spaces as noted some of which are likely to be vacant.  Other old folks’ homes have more spaces (one previous one had around 200).  Others have much less.  Most, but not all, of those 159 spaces are occupied by single individuals. 

Based on 159 units, it can rather safely be estimated that the permanent population is about 100 people.  Some people move in, stay a while, maybe as long as a year, then go to some other place.  Some are also old and frail enough that they die off or go into some kind of assisted living.  The 100 estimate is that of the still active (just old) people in the place.  Some moved in at a fairly early age and are people who have been around for a decade or more.  Staying can be for more than one reason, such as a relative that’s also a resident or just a reluctance to relocate.  Cliques can form under those circumstances. 

Anyway, there are about 100 people among whom it sometimes can be possible to find a companion – maybe a resident who will be around for a time.  It’s not impossible, but it is also not too likely.  Now,it’s useless to run to see who’s being hauled away in an ambulance.  That happens too often and at odd hours.  It is also useless to try to keep track of who is moving out.  A little, personally operated truck in front of the place loading (or unloading) belongings is about as random and frequent as the fire department.  It’s a matter of being alert to little things.  Recently, being so alert, revealed that a petty thief’s in the place. 

There’s no place that’s safe.Camera