Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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Love in solitude

Silvia Grisová
Language: English
Country: Slovakia
Typology: health care professionals
A couple of seniors is forced to live apart after 22 years of living together. He has Parkinson’s disease in an advanced stage and therefore his daughter moved him to live in her home. She suffers of impeded mobility and lives alone. Anna is 89 years old. For the last 31 years she is retired. She was married, her husband died 32 years ago. They did not have children together. 24 years ago she met her partner. They lived together happily for the last 22 years, they spent vacations together, made trips together, they could talk and share every day. Her life partner began to suffer from Parkinson’s disease in the last few years with a strong progress in the last two years and Anna was no longer able to take care of him. Therefore his daughter started taking care of him which unfortunatelly required him moving to her house. So for the last 2 years Anna meets her life partner only occassionaly when her impeded mobility allows her to visit him. The house of his daughter is on a steeper hill which for Anna is almost an insurmountable obstacle. Since the disease of her partner worsened and his family had to take over his care, she has been living alone. She misses her partner but her partial immobility does not allow her to visit him as she would not walk so far, and she does not have relatives who could drive her there. Two weeks ago she went for a shopping and fall down on a step in front of the house. She cannot tell how much time she spent lying there, she had to wait until a walk by neighbour called a help for her. The client has face abrasions covered with scabs, bruises along the whole left side of her back and left hip. She is bumped, shaken and afraid of a possible fall. She remembers only a sudden lose of her balance and the immediate falling. She could not get up by herself. Getting used to a life alone was hard enough situation for her. The fall moreover let her loose her selfconfidence. She has pain. She moves uncertainly around her apartment. She has the minimum pension so she can not afford to pay a 24 hour care. The nurse as a reference person visits Anna every day at the agreed time in the morning and talks with her during her help with body hygiene and dressing. She motivates Anna to take care of as many daily life activities as her current state allows her after the fall and at the same time she leads her to learn safe movemenent patterns around the apartment, on the stairs and in the village. Anna learns under supervision how she can move more safely and confidentaly in familiar environment using the places to hold on. Anna also exercises short and easy parts under the nurse’s supervision for training stability and coordination in daily activity movements. The nurse managed an emergency phone for Anna with a bracelet for getting help by ringing the main office wherever Anna is within a range of the gadget, in case she falls again. Anna talks to the nurse about her current life and also about her past and the experiences with her partner. These interviews help her to remember the good times she has experienced. The nurse specifically supports comeback of the nice memories by asking positive questions. Anna is relieved when she experiences the feeling of gratitude for all the good that met her in life and also for finding support and a soul mate in the nurse. She looks forward to her regular visits, she likes her company and the opportunity to share her everday experience. She likes to accept her support by the hygiene, for example when the nurse washes the parts of Anna’s body where she cannot reach alone, when she helps Anna to put body lotion on her entire body. Anna sometimes holds nurse’s hand spontaneously and holds it in her hands quietly sitting down. Other times she mentions that she is happy the nurse is there. Often she does not require any special help with the household chores. She can manage these activities with her own slow and steady tempo alone and then she tells the nurse what she did already today. OBJECTIVES: Reduce the feeling of loneliness, provide meaningful company during the day, help to regain confidence in individual mobility at home and in the community and manage the availability of assistance. MEANS AND STRATEGY: Providing company, expression of interest and relationship, motivational, guiding and relief bringing talks, support with daily activities, assisting with gaining and keeping physical condition and stability by an easy exercise training. CONCLUSIONS: The client needs company and regain her confidence in the independent movement in order to restore her natural social contacts. She needs to know how to avoid falls and have accessible way of summoning neccessary help when she is alone.

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