Some images are seared in our memory for life. For me, this is one of them.
Let me set the scene. Last Saturday, I was leaving my dad’s Assistant Living Community and it was pouring rain. And, I mean the crazy sideways type of rain that soaks through your clothes even when you’re carrying an umbrella and wearing a coat. As I ran to get in my car, I noticed the Assistant Director of the community standing in the pouring rain wearing a soaked red T-shirt and jeans…no coat or umbrella in sight.
It took me a second to figure out what was happening. A resident didn’t want to go back in the building and the Assistant Director was trying to console her and keep her safe. I ran over to give the ladies my umbrella and overheard the Assistant Director talking to the resident in such a calm, compassionate and professional manner. It sounded as if they were sitting down over a cup of warm tea, not standing outside being pelted by pouring rain.
As I drove away, windshield wipers scrapping back and forth at full speed, I looked in my review mirror and saw the faint outline of the two women standing in the rain under my big red umbrella. I later learned that they were outside for an hour and the resident in question had a health issue, which caused the erratic behavior.
So often, only the negative stories about Assisted Living appear in the mainstream media. And, family members envision scenes from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest taking place behind closed doors in Assisted Living Communities. This act of humanity took place out in the open for everyone to witness.