For me, there’s nothing as perverse and intolerable as a whiner.
Oh, for Heaven’s sake, you know who I mean; everybody knows at least one.
They go by a host of monikers: bellyacher, grouser, fusspot, nit-picker, fussbudget.
Why my rant? Recently, I had a conversation with one of the administrators about an idea I had that would simultaneously improve the quality of life for residents while saving the lives of rescue animals. What makes it somewhat unique is that the animal (a “rescue” dog or cat) would only be delivered to those facilities with roughly a dozen residents willing to sign a binding Agreement that spells out in clear language the responsibilities of each resident involved with the animal’s care. Simple, right?
I mean, this is Bill Thomas 101.
Specifically, the agreement would define who is responsible for feeding, what is to be fed (that means stock control), what time they are fed and walked) . . .you get the picture.
We would even build into the system a series of redundancy controls — back-ups if something goes awry.
Well . . .after I had explained my program to the administrative director of my assisted living facility, her immediate reaction was to say, “But what if some of the residents are afraid of the animals or allergic to them?” .
Frustrated and disgusted, I said, ” . . .and what if a cat breaks into a refrigerator and makes off with an entire smoked whitefish?”
And for a second, I could actually see the wheels spinning in her head, conjuring up images of the skeleton of the fish, sans fillets.
STOP! REALITY CHECK!
Here’s the sad truth. Even if I were fortunate enough to sell this concept to the administrative director, then the real battle would begin . . .getting a dozen residents to commit a few minutes a day to the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of the entire community. Motivating residents — dragging them out of their rooms — is akin to nailing Jello to a tree.
So, how do I accurately convey the real problem in America’s Institutional Aging Community?
By telling the truth.
And that truth holds that it’s not always the top-down management system at fault in the daily effort to move forward.
In fact, most of the time, it’s the residents themselves who are to blame for the systemic apathy and lack of inertia.