The role of humour, music and human touch in residential care
Submitted by Edel Burke, Communications Officer, St. Paul's Foundation
For John Lee, the simple human moments are the perfect complement to the medical care his mom receives at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital.
When he retired in 2015, John Lee, 60, looked forward to being able to spend more time with his mother, who is 91 and has been living in residential care at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (MSJ) since 2014.
A sure-fire candidate for Son of the Year, John visits his mom, Wai Hing Lee, not just every day, but twice a day, once in the morning and then again around supper time.
John’s main competition for Son of the Year honours? His brother, Dick, who also manages a trip to MSJ most days to see their mother. (To be fair, John says his brother still works, so does not have as much time as he does.)
In addition to having two loyal sons, Wai Hing also has a dear friend who recently became a resident at MSJ. The two have been friends more than 50 years. John says that even at such an advanced age, his mother is lucid, enjoys conversation, and appreciates friendship now as much as she ever has.
And while Wai Hing is content at Mount Saint Joseph, she did not always feel this way. John shares insights that will be of value to anyone who may be helping a parent transition to residential care.
“At first, she wanted to come home,” says John. “This was difficult, of course. Yet as she became used to her new environment, as she got to know the staff at MSJ and the various routines, she became much more comfortable. Now, she is very content. So you need to give it some time. That time may vary, but for my mother, it took a few months. And why wouldn’t it? It’s a big change.”
And it was a big change. Since her husband’s passing in 1985 and until her move to MSJ in 2014, Wai Hing had lived in a house with her son, Dick, with each of them occupying a floor. So Wai Hing had lived very happily in this home for nearly 30 years.
But around 2010, now in her early eighties and having been outfitted with a pacemaker, Wai Hing had begun to experience balance problems. It was following a serious fall that resulted in a blood clot forming in her brain, which in turn had caused a series of seizures, that the brothers decided residential care would be best for her.
And while John is quick to acknowledge the excellence of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers at MSJ who take such great care of his mother, he says the simple, human side of things provides a perfect balance to that care.
His mother loves to laugh, for example, and John mentions a particular care attendant, named Eric, who always makes his mother smile.
“Eric is great,” says John. “My mother’s eyesight is poor but she always knows Eric is coming because she hears him. He always makes these funny little sounds because he knows they always make her smile. He’s a great person. He makes me laugh, too!”
St. Paul’s Foundation is a proud supporter of elder care across Providence Health Care. To support excellence in patient care and social programs, please make a gift to St. Paul’s Foundation today.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
- Join the 2018 PHC Practice-Based Research Challenge!
- New website aims to improve mental health and wellness for young people in B.C.
- 'I don’t call it elder care, I call it living'
- Final call for BC Health Care Award nominations
- The Doctors Are In podcast: They’re back
- Facing Horizons Together: Heart and Lung Health FEST 2018
- You can do it! Here are 5 quit smoking tips that worked for me
- Dear EFAP: I'm too tired to talk to my partner at night
- PICNet Educational Conference: Registration discount extended to January 26
- 10 things you get for free: Part 2
- Used book sale! $1 each
- Resolve to connect with someone new
- The Care Connection newsletter for January is now online
- Life runs in cycles... Joy will come!