Into another World- assisted living

I had the opportunity to inspect an Assisted Living Facility or ALF for housing compliance, checking the site, exterior, its systems, common areas and a sample of the units. These properties are normally small and easy to inspect, but I have to be in the right attitude before I enter into this world and I mean no offense by it. As I walk in from the parking lot, I “see” the unseen sign on the front door that reads “please leave your soul here before entering the building”. An imaginary rack appears in front of me to “hang” my soul while I am inside this unique place. This is a place where elderly people spend their last living days. It is a place like no other, a workplace for doctors, therapist, social workers and nurses attending and caring for people who otherwise would not be able to manage themselves, their elderly residents. This ALF in particular had an Alzheimer wing. In this wing live people who suffer from the debilitating disease. Most of the units I inspected came from this area which it is a secured area, monitored 24 hours by the staff. As I entered , I was greeted at the door by a charming old lady in her late 60’s who was dress in yellow pants and a yellow set that even the belt, purse and shoes matched. She was up, ready and about as if she was going to the mall for an all day shopping spree. I learned from the management that this lady was known to read the codes of the security doors and escape outside of the wing. A pair of ladies walking around the hallways together hand in hand that looked to me like the Odd Pair of the movies. In several times they both turn to me asking “what do we do?” and “where should we go?” I saw them walk from end to end of the wing and then look at each other shrug and say “now what”? Like in every place I visit one person does stand out. There is an old lady there is always one like this, who is the most outspoken. She wanted to go out and needed to be reminded several times to keep her voice down. She will raise her voice demanding to go outside and motivates others to do the same. In little time, She had the TV area and whomever was there siding with her, screaming and talking gibberish. The other areas of the building were occupied by more old folks in every corner. Some were just sitting there, senile, eyes drawn, sleepy, incoherent, and lost. I could hear the moaning and rants of someone asking for help, complaining about their pain or just looking for someone to talk, to tell their stories, to have something important to say or do. I was told stories of some residents of this facility, about their families who visit them and about them, their work and what it takes of living there. I listen with intensity, smiling at the good stories and silent at the sad ones, reflecting. This place, nursing homes, group homes, and senior communities are where the full circle of life comes to close. Old people, who at their peak of their times were active, productive, capable of living and leading a full life, now rest the reminder of their days here, completely dependable from their caretakers many not knowing where they are, sitting there, staring at the window, watching time goes by. As I exit the building I picked up my soul from the invisible rack and as I felted back inside me, I looked back reflecting on the people who live there as well as for those who work in it.