Reflections on Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday 2019 I went to visit my father for the first time after his move to the residential care center a few days earlier. It was an emotional tough visit. He was very confused about the move and his new environment and was suspicious towards everybody.

After a few months in temporary care facilities (and the previous years in months in hospitals and rehabilitation centers) we had to get used to the fact that he would not return home. This center was his new home after multiple months on the waiting lists.   When you activate waiting lists, you visit some centers,  you read the websites, try to guess the level of activities and care, you see the rooms, ... but in the end you don't have a choice. There's long waiting lists and the time you can spend in temporary care facilities is by law limited. So if there is a room must gamble to either take it or wait for another week/month/months? it's a choice you have to make which is no true choice if you need the care help.

My father has lived in his last home for only 5 months. In that time I've seen how few staff there is per patient. My mom felt the need to assist my father for 2 meals a day since nobody truly has time to help all of the residents to eat. Mind you, in the hospitals it's not different.  Some staff was brilliant and sweet, others clearly didn't care but apparently the directers couldn't fire them right away before they found new ressources.

The ongoing health crisis touches a sensitive string. I've put it on my Facebook already 2 weeks ago I believe.  I am honestly so relieved that my father doesn't live in a residential care center anymore in this situation. My mother would be worried like hell, we'd all be stressing.  While visiting him the last months and seeing him getting weaker and more confused with each visit, was very hard to do...not being able to visit him would be so much harder.  I feel for all the people in this situation.   We'd not know how confused he'd be at the sight of nurses in protective covers, we'd not know if it would trigger new paranoia or hallucinations (but I'm pretty sure it would the images on tv of the yellow vest protests in Paris combined with some army helicopters in the air made him belief our house was under siege the year before).  We'd not be able to connect and comfort him with our touch, voices, music, old stories.  My mother would have been forced to participate in a sterile process of laundry exchange at the entrance of the facilities.

And then I didn't even consider the fact that residential care centers now seem to become the forgotten axis in the fight against Corona.  The lack of resources, testing, material ensures that once the virus is inside...everyone seems trapped inside. I wonder what disaster is ongoing there that we don't know yet.  I know some people that are worrying like hell about elderly parents in a center where there's been confirmed cases of Corona.

I guess I'm blessed at this moment that all my near relatives are now in good health living in their own house in isolation without immediate care needs. Today, that feels like a blessing.


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