Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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I want to manage by myself.

Edita Gardoňová
Language: English
Country: Slovakia
Typology: health care professionals
Mrs. Irena has been visibly changing in the last few weeks. She feels bad, cannot sleep, has problems even with breathing in. A change for worse is apparent in her. So far people used to consider her being an active and self reliable seventy year old lady which did not look her age. However, according to her close ones she started to loose rapidly her ability to remember even the routine everyday life activities. Her condition required a hospital care. She still tries to require as little from the care givers as possible. She goes to the toilet by herself and compared with the other patients in her room she is undemanding. Irena is 78 years old. In the past few years her two children and grandchildren used to visit her couple of times in a week but it has changed in the last few months. Now, it is inevitable to come to her every day. Irena started to forget things, to loose things, sometimes she did not answered the phone. Then it turned out that she has forgotten it somewhere she could not hear it. Sometimes her lights were on even when she has been already sleeping, sometimes she destroyed her clothes during washing because she could not turn on the appropriate program or she forgot to pour the powder into the washing machine. She also forgot to stop water when she went shopping and the water flowed to the neighbors. She had been working in a University library and she was proud of much encyclopedic knowledge she had. Dealing with hospitalization was very difficult for her because “she never needed anything from anyone”. She perceives her stay in the hospital as injustice, she feels alone without her relatives, she thinks it is the lack of interest from their side. “When I raised them up, I was good for them and now nobody wants to be with me.” those are her everyday words to the nurse even though one child or another comes to visit her every day. And sometimes they come also with grandchildren. Irena woke up as the first one and she tries to do things as she used to do them. Sometimes when nurses let her she helps them with their work. She is thankful when they let her and compliment her, because nurses who do not want any help are “bad” or “opposing”. It has already happened to her that she could not find her room because “all rooms are the same and the name cards were written in scrawl”. Irena likes to watch TV and her favorite program is the one about cooking. She writes the recipes down to the notebook her grandchildren brought for her. Her stay in the hospital is something as a sacrifice for her. She went there to reassure her children that she will be alright because when she was at home, they were worried about her. Sometimes she has conflicts with the doctors, because she observes what medication takes her roommate and then she speculates whether it is correctly prescribed or not. Afterwards Irena is offended and she does not communicate for hours. When the nurse talks to her, she turns her head and looks the other way. It is possible to have a full contact with her only when people respect her and her opinions or when people accept her help. OBJECTIVES: Establish contact which Irena seems as accepting and supporting. Reduce the feeling of being left out and rejected. Encourage Irena in accepting the necessary assistance. MEANS AND STRATEGY: The nurse leads an open explanatory conversation with Irena. She engages her in activities at the hospital department which is Irena able to do and which are passable within all the activities happening at the department, for example, picking up the used dishes. The nurse motivates the family members to find little assignments during their visits so Irena feels again needed, for example, to match and pair up the socks. CONCLUSIONS: Irena denies so far that her mental abilities weakened with age. Only gradually will she accept the fact that not all her thoughts are anchored in reality. A feeling of confusion is related to the development of senile dementia.

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