Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 30 Jun, 2024

Sunday

Eldest Sister made the journey from the other side of London to visit Mum today accompanied by one of her kids.

I had neglected to give them precise directions to Mum’s room  so they looked a bit lost when they emerged from the lift. Fortunately, Reggie recognised them.

“Your mum’s just round the corner down there!”

They found her as I’d left her last night. Responsive, but only just. They were told that Mum had been unable or unwilling to take her meds this morning.

She seemed to have been, at some point,  a bit more physically active than she had been and had fidgeted and slipped down and across her bed. I don’t think she said anything while they were there and only stirred a couple of times. Her only action was to pick her nose and sit with an impressively large product on the end of her finger until Eldest Sister got a tissue and relieved her of it.

While they were with us for lunch I asked what they thought of The Home.

“It’s in the middle of nowhere! It seems too quiet.”

My initial reaction was “That’s an urban attitude for you!”. I thought it was good that there was no traffic going past and that there was more birdsong audible in the gardens. But it made me think.

There were a number of residents at the last home who would talk loudly and sometimes aggressively to each other or to their Other People. They hadn’t been transferred to The Home. It wasn’t possible to say whether that was pure chance as determined by those residents’ families or whether The Home’s assessment process had weeded them out. Either way, The Home was much more peaceful and the residents were happier than they had been before the transfer. Lovely people though they were, I couldn’t say that I missed the shouting or the strange conversations even if Mum wasn’t bothered.

The other factor that was different was the absence of sounds of village life. The sounds from the church in the evenings when they had bell-ringing practice and, more particularly, the sounds of the children playing in the school down the road. Mum would often respond to the sound of children playing and when her hallucinations started getting especially strong her Other People would more often than not be children.

Thinking about it further, it dawned on me that Mum had stopped responding to those sounds a long time ago.

The Home might be quite isolated but Mum had become isolated within herself many months before she was transferred there.

Author’s Note

My Mum is in a nursing home in a small village in the Thames Valley. The photo is not of the home. I used an AI image generator to give the reader some idea of the home she’s in.

All, some or maybe even none (you’ll never know!) of the names have been changed to protect privacy and hide real identities. If you think you recognise someone then let me know and I’ll edit the post or remove it entirely

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