I was privately contracted as an advocate for one of the residents at the facility. It was lunchtime, and several ladies were seated together every meal. My lady was one of them. One of the women paused while eating. She seemed to become distracted by her blouse. It was a short sleeve T-shirt with broad black and white stripes. She pulled at the front, checking it out like it was the first time seeing it, then announced, “This thing makes me look like a prisoner!”
Rosemary, a grumpy lady who never smiled, was sitting across from her. Her fork stopped mid-air; she looked over the top of her glasses at the woman’s shirt and replied sarcastically, “Don’t you know we are all prisoners here?” She then resumed eating with barely a pause as though nothing had transpired.
Who actually wants to be placed in eldercare? Their strict regulations, adherence to routine and locked doors make it easy to feel like a prisoner regardless of how luxurious the prison appears. Unfortunately, most residents in facilities think this way. Of course, I understand that it is essential for their safety they aren’t allowed to wander out. Accidents can happen alone on the street, and those with dementia commonly get lost. However, taking your freedom away usually becomes a key factor leading to depression with eldercare residents.
Depression is a pervading issue among the residents in eldercare. The likelihood of encountering a resident who chose to be there is slim. Most residents are placed involuntarily because of mental or physical disabilities or simply because no one is available or capable of caring for them. It's the last resort. Most residents have lost their spouses, family homes, and the loss of a loved one. Placement in a facility creates grief. Grief over the loss of one’s life and freedom.