One of the things that most brightens my workday is when I see long-term care residents hanging out together.
In particular, I’ve noticed two ladies who attend activities in tandem wearing dresses with hats and costume jewelry, a threesome of confused residents who sit near the nursing station laughing at jokes only they understand, and an African-American and a Caucasian octogenarian twosome who are amazed to be best friends since neither of them had a friend of the other race before.
Men gather for card games, guys group in the hallway offering wry observations on the behaviors of the staff and other residents, and rehab patients tell me how inspired they are by someone they meet lifting weights in physical therapy. Sometimes I’ll discover that the resident they mentioned is, in turn, inspired by them.
What long-term care offers, aside from medical help and safety, is the opportunity to connect with peers and to maintain a social life. One of our best selling points is the fact that folks can get to activities without needing a coat or umbrella. New residents are often surprised and reassured to learn that there are “transporters” who will bring them to and from daily recreation programs, all for free.