Out of the woodwork…



A patient was referred to hospice. He’s not in the process of dying right now, but end stage dementia……

Anyway, I’ve never seen visitors with him. This isn’t abnormal. There are very few residents who have frequent, regular visitors.

Suddenly, when the family decides to initiate hospice…. a FLURRY of visitors, over the past 2 days.

I happened across one such visitor today, standing in his room, watching him as he slept. She looked uncomfortable, lost, sad. He woke up, and she left soon after. Still quiet, looking ready to cry.

I wonder who she was? Family or friend, maybe his child or grand-child even.

I wonder if they will come back again, if he doesn’t pass away as soon as they seem to think he will?

I think it must be hard for people who don’t see dementia every day, to feel comfortable interacting with someone who is suffering from it. This may be why most residents have few visitors, people may think why bother coming, if they don’t know me anyway?

Most of these residents still have quality of life, even if they can’t remember where they are or what year it is. They participate in activities, get their hair done, sing songs, and even give advice. They make friends. They laugh, they cry, they still live. They enjoy human contact.  Few are so advanced in their dementia that they are no longer able to interact in a meaningful way….and even these residents deserve someone to hold their hand, or read to them.

There but for the grace of God…….

We don’t know what our future holds. Don’t be afraid of going to these places…..nursing homes, dementia units, whatever you call them. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. The greatest gift you can give is your time, isn’t it? Give a little now, you might need someone else’s later….


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