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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Reasons why Fran is grateful for kind people who work in care homes

My grandmother is 95. I visit her once a week in a care home. This week, I came away from the visit grateful for some lovely carers who were working with the elderly there in a compassionate and sensitive way. It's not always the case.

Before she went to the care home, I used to visit her in her own flat, where she lived alone. Week by week, it was clear that she was deteriorating and would need more care eventually. I wrote this short poem about her at that time in response to the challenge to write a 'list' poem. Any of you who have elderly relatives might find it resonates. And if you like writing poems, trying a list poem is worth doing.


Crossed out

Stains on your blue cardigan.  Hymnal tones
of horseracing on the TV.  One Hermesetas,
lost.  Your leg bandaged like a Pharoah's.
A teacup, brown around the rim.  Crumbs.
Discarded news.  Blank crossword puzzles.
Tablets.  Monday.  Tuesday.  Thursday?
Denials of naps.  A half-eaten currant bun
wrapped in a tissue.  Talon toenails.

Your phone book, so many names crossed
out. 





Here I am, visiting her in the care home with my two grandchildren: her great-great grandchildren! 

16 comments:

  1. I love your poem. It's great--and important--that you visit every week. Families help keep carers who aren't as motivated as others on their toes.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That's a very good point, Janie, and encouraging x

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    1. She has a good sense of humour still so we can have a joke here and there. And she still likes helping me with a crossword.

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  3. It's nice to hear good things about a care home when the news is so often full of horror stories of things that go on in some of them.
    My neighbour is only 71, but wasn't caring for herself. She's diabetic and doing much better now with regular meals and regular showers. I visit a couple of times a week and can give her a hug now without holding my breath at the sour smell she used to have.

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  4. P.S. your grandma looks lovely, she has a kind face, happy too.

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    1. Pleased to hear about your neighbour, River. I bet she gets a lot out of your visits. And, whaddya know, this time your comments came straight through without my having to check my 'Awaiting Moderation' folder to find them - did you do something different?!

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  5. Fran, that's a lovely poem. Brought a tear to my eye. Your grandmother is lucky to have you and I'm so pleased she's being well looked after - and loved by you. Lots of elderly people are not so lucky.

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  6. Thank you, Helen. She gets a visit each day from my uncle (her son) and I know she values this especially. I'm really pleased you liked the poem :)

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  7. My mother was in a care home before her death & what stands out in my mind are the elderly residents lined up in their wheelchairs not knowing what was going on. Keep visiting your grandmother; it's important to both of you!!

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    1. Yes, fishducky, it's hard to see that, and I see it often, too. The staff are rushed off their feet with too many jobs to do - and they're paid a pittance. It makes me angry.

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  8. What a lovely photo at the end. I was once asked to say a few words at the funeral of a friend's father. I began it with a slowly delivered list of all the striking things about the dear old gentleman.

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    1. I'm sure that comforted the relatives a lot more than banal generalisations, BadPenny.

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  9. I love, love, love that photo! And the poem made me cry. Let it not be said you can only do funny xx

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    1. I think it must be the menopause. I do serious a lot more these days! Thanks, Deborah :)

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  10. I hadn't read this one before, Fran. Yes, it resonates. Thank you.

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