Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I am washing the quilt that I made for my Mum several years ago. It usually resides on her bed in the hospital wing of the retirement home she lives in.

This is my Mum, Eve.

Two weeks ago, she was 82 on November the 1st, and for the last seven years ( since my Dad died) she has been living in a small room, in a large retirement home, just ten minutes away from our farm.

I took the photo with my IPhone in a cafe here at Mum's faourite place.
Kaiteriteri. Lots of happy memories for her here with my Dad, swimming and sunbathing.

Ian and I take Eve out at the weekends. Sometimes she just comes home with us, and we feed her yummy foods that she doesn't have at the rest home. Eve loves to spend time with her great grandchildren.

Today I am feeling slightly powerless on her behalf. She has been told by the nursing care manager of her home that she can no longer enjoy daily showers. She is to be showered twice a week and the rest of the time will have to make do with a wash in the morning, and another in the evening.

For Eve this is devastating. She is paralysed on one side of her body( since she was 50 yrs old) and spends all her time in a wheelchair, and the time she has by herself in her shower chair in her bathroom, is something she looks forward to so much. Many times I have visited her room and I have heard her singing away in the shower.

I have made earnest and heartfelt pleas for her this morning, but all to no avail.

One more loss for her that has seen her stripped of practically everything ( especially freedom of choice ) in the last seven years, her life reduced to a small room overlooking a carpark !

I was told that is is standard practice for ALL the aged in hospital care of the rest homes throughout NZ.


Mary Keenan said...

Oh dear - how well I know this feeling, not to mention the grief that goes with it. Will the residence allow you to hire someone privately to come in and help with a shower on days when you can't?

Sally Anne said...

I am hoping so Mary. I am still thinking through options left to me and will chat to her Doctor today.

Candyce said...

I work in a nursing home and can verify that it is that way in the US too.

Where they come up with twice weekly, I do not know. I do know that for most it is a challenge to get them in even that much. So, kudos for your Mom that she wants it more often.

I think Mary's idea of having someone privately to come in and help with a shower a good option.

It seems so little to ask be clean and fresh.

Sally, you are such a kind and caring daughter.

Dee said...

cJust a wee thought Sally , Its Dee here try and come in to the home on either a tuesday, wednesday or friday morning between 9am and 12, while I am there, I have an idea. or I will leave my phone number in Eves room

Sally Anne said...

Oh Dee, thank you so much !!!
Can I come in and see you at 9.00am on Friday morning. I have another appointment at 9.30.
See you then.....

Janet said...

Isn't that typical of health boards cutting costs. I suppose they say they don't have the staff.
I have a feeling from the other comments that you might be able to resolve it, I really hope so, it seems like a small thing that would mean so much.

Binnie said...

It's once a week here in Nova Scotia, Sally. Very sad; cruel, really. I hope you're able to work something out. Wonderful that your mum has you to advocate for her.

Sally Anne said...

Candyce, Janet and Binnie
Thank you for your comments .... gosh, showers one a week in Nova Scotia !
Mum says it is like being in a prison rather than her home.
When I did my nursing 32 years ago, it was the plight of the elderly and the hospital routines (toileting and dental hygiene ) that really upset me the most. The elderly are so vulnerable and they don't have a voice to speak up for themselves !

Dee said...

Sally that will be fine, I will get in early and talk to Wendy and fingers crossed we can work it out. See you in the morning.

Dee said...

HI Sally my email address is

Lori ann said...

Sally, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm hoping that you've resolved this issue for your Mom, I'll be facing this within the next few months with my own Mother, we are preparing to move her into a rest home also.
Good luck and sending big hugs,
lori ♥

Naturally Carol said...

It is not that way in Australia, I worked as an Admin. Assistant in a nursing home here for over two years and residents were showered daily! I don't get it, 'specially if she loves her showers! They have little enough, don't they?

Anonymous said...

Once a week in one of the "finest" nursing homes in a major city in Wisconsin--I suppose it's the liability. Doesn't seem a good way to preserve health. I was aghast at hospital practices when I had children--wouldn't change sheets, allowed the briefest of showers. What has this world come to, I think many pets are treated better than people. Also, sad here in the US about your miners.