Cheryl Sadeghee writes to say:
Over this past year, I have been working as a consultant in local nursing facilities, providing supportive and therapeutic interventions for their residents identified as suffering with various mood disorders or reported to have disruptive behaviors. I love working with this population and have found it to be more of a vocation than an occupation.
What I have come to understand is that the vast majority of these individuals who are being pathologized and, thus, referred for treatment, are, in reality, lonely, angry and despairing of their situations. They are suffering under the oppressive, corporate management and controlled environment into which they have moved and in which they will spend their last years on this earth. As you so eloquently point out, these individuals don’t have a voice, they are subjected to top-down management whose goal “seems to be to strip us of our autonomy”.
The old medical model of care, which is provider-directed instead of consumer-directed, is antiquated and should be made obsolete. And yet, all the nursing facilities in which I have worked maintain this model. It is tragic beyond words.
When I first read this, I sat with my mouth open, as Cheryl described the lonely, angry and despairing of their situation who are pathologized and treated for a myriad of conditions – while the real cause of their dis-ease remains untreated.
Let’s keep digging.
How do you “fix” someone who suffers from loneliness, anger and despair?
Do you add another session of Bingo each day after lunch, start a choir or plan an outing to Red Lobster? Or maybe we organize a resident-driven peer support group.
At this juncture some will say, Martin, did you ever consider that some of these residents showed up on Day One lonely, angry and despairing?
And my answer will always be . . .It doesn’t make any difference. They are here, now, as they are.
What can we do TODAY to improve the quality of their lives?