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2015 Residents' Voice Entries

The Resident’s Voice is an opportunity for residents from facilities across the country to share their ideas about this year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme with other residents, ombudsmen, families, community members and nursing home staff. Find 2015 entries below.

"I would change the care in nursing homes to make people have respect, to make them feel appreciated." - Steve Grammer, consumer receiving care in his home in Roanoke, VA

"When you smile; when you talk to me softly...when you appreciate me like I appreciate you!" - PEERs of Berks Heim, Reading, PA

"Good care is when staff make me feel that someone cares about me." - PEERs of Spruce Manor, Reading, PA

"If you want respect, you have to be respectful of others." - Nursing Home Leadership Group of Suffolk County, NY

"We are a team and a family and in your hands we entrust." - Vickie Edwards, Golding Living Center, Morgantown, WV

"When day is done and there's no more fun, they tuck us in our beds to sleep." - Flo Wilson, Christ the King Manor, DuBois, PA

"I deserve dignity and respect." - Ronnie Martin, Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

"Quality of Life Means: Live, Love & Be Happy" - Residents of Wachusett Manor, Gardner, MA

"Reach out and hug someone you know; tell them how you love them." - Mark Vanderwater, Cape Heritage Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, Sandwich, MA

"As my day comes to end I'm well aware that I have spent my day with a staff that really cares." - Brian Capshaw, Greensprings Healthcare and Rehab, East Hartford, CT

"Staff has patience with people to provide quality care and dignity." - Linda Edwards, Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

"The care I receive will help me to recover, so I can go on, and try to help others." - Barbara Ware, Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

"It is important to receive quality care, so I can eventually go back home." - Carol Holland, Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

"If every caregiver treated their resident as they wanted to be treated, there would be no need for any type of advoacy group!" - Yvette Green, Resident in Philadelphia, PA

"Home is me being treated as who I am, not what I am." - PEERs at Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Chambersburg, PA

"Wisdom should be like a savings account - make plenty of deposits and watch it grow." - John D. Barnshaw, Alarishealth at Cherry Hill, NJ

"We are the "Greatest Generation," with high morals and behavior and religion to set an example for the younger generation." - Ellie Marquardt, Elmcroft at Loyalsock Senior Living, Montoursville, PA

"I have been in this facility for four years. I enjoy the activities and getting to know fellow residents and the staff." - Cora Haas, resident in Carlisle, PA

"I don't like to sit around in my room. It makes you old too fast, and I have no intention of getting old." - Etta Kapner, resident in Houston, TX

"Look at my beautiful blue eyes, I am still here." - Written for nursing home resident, the late Elvia Allen

"Time came and went by so fast. The memories we have will always last." - Written for nursing home resident, the late Louise Claiborne

"Not guilty, am I." - Written by Gloria Black, advocate

Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged by Esther Mary Walker

"We need to be able to live our lives to the fullest." - Residents at Twin Falls Care Center in Twin Falls, ID

"To my nurses and C.N.A - you are my sunshine, my only sunshine." - Janis Prock, NHC Healthcare, Glasgow, KY

"My name is CARE...In some facilities, the staff give me to the residents as they'd like me to be given to their own family." - Sue Booterbaugh, PEER at Amber Springs Personal Care Home in Cambria County, PA

"So we thank you from our hearts for being 'Bomb Diggity'" - Residents in the poetry writing group at 60 West Nursing Home in Rocky Hill, CT

"Heavenly Father up above, please protect these friends I love" - Rita Stemple, Heartland of Preston County, Kingwood, WV

"We have the right to voice, within reason, what we do or say."  - Patty Walker, DuBois Nursing Home, DuBois, PA

"It matters to me that the staff treat me like a family member or a friend." - Residents at Smithtown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care, Smithtown, NY

"By not allowing us to be subject to the same rules and regulations afforded every other citizen of our state, they have said to us that we (seniors) are somehow less of an individual than others." - Bruce Cooper, resident in Yonkers, NY

"Blessed with challenge; blessed with change; I'll survive the blessed refrain." - Residents in the Drummers to Poets Group at North Star Rehabilitation and Care Community, Denver, CO

"I hope I can show people one-tenth the love, compassion, and kindness you show all of us every day." - Judy Dorsey, Ellis Manor, Hartford, CT

"Little things matter" - Grace Abramowitz, Milford Manor, Baltimore, MD

"Remember, I am a person. I appreciate the care you give." - Joanne Grana, resident

"My grief was soothed by caring, comforting, support and solace from the staff and other residents." - Larry Manoff, Abramson Center for Jewish Life, North Wales, PA

"Quality of life is like spice." - M. Hull, Kenedy Health Care, Kenedy, TX

"It means nurses know and understand you as a person." - Residents of the Bishop Spencer Place, Kansas City, MO 

"The residents live there, and it is their home.  They have no other home, and they would like for it to be the best home possible." - Woodrow Wilson, Palisade Gardens, Westchester, NY

"With each and every day comes a new experience, and a new adventure to light my way." - Janice Driver, Palisades Gardens, Westchester, NY

"We make our own family." - Residents at Palisade Gardens, Westchester, NY

Find more Resident's Voice submissions continued on Page 2.


Consumer Name: Steve Grammer, Roanoke, VA

The best part of my day is waking up knowing I'm not in a nursing home. I would change the care in nursing homes to make people have respect, to make them feel appreciated. It's a ray of sunshine!

Steve Grammer is a consumer receiving care in his home.  For more information on his story, click here.


Residents Names: Elmira Sonon, Richard May, Marjorie Wertz, and Fay Badman
Organization Name: 
PEERs (Pennsylvania’s Empowered Expert Residents) of Berks Heim in Reading, PA



Resident/Consumer Names: Kenny Acosta, Mitchel Farris, Melinda Galen, Sandy Pace, Philip Paskos, and Joyce Steeley
Organization Name: PEERs (Pennsylvania’s Empowered Expert Residents) of Spruce Manor in Reading, PA

Good care is when staff…
smile,
talk softly,
stick up for our rights,
explain things,
are respectful when I have an accident,
dig deep for patience,
come right away,
make me feel that someone cares about me.


Resident Names: Devereax Carson, Ida Cuomo, Betty Dorius, Lew Epstein, Irene Hamilton, and Carol Mortimer
Organization Name: Nursing Home Leadership Group of Suffolk County, New York

On quality care and advice to caregivers:

Show respect.  If you want respect, you have to be respectful of others.  I say please, thanks.  I let you know that you are doing a good job. I appreciate what you do for me.  If it wasn't for you doing a good job, I would be miserable.

The Nursing Home Leadership Group of Suffolk County is a group of residents who meet monthly to exchange ideas, keep informed on community and state-wide issues affecting nursing home residents, and promote the best quality of life for those in long-term care homes.

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Resident Name: Vickie Edwards
Facility Name: Golden Living Center, Morgantown, WV

Care Matters

When we are weak, old and sometimes bold our mind seems to
wander back to the past, like a flash.
Help is what we need when we are trying so hard to succeed.
Some help for the money, some help in times of need, who care.
Elderly are not babies-treat us with respect.
We are achy, chilled, grouchy and sometimes mean!
What do you expect!
Teach us to rest and to have fun.
Help us to live through life until it's done.
We value our caregivers and hope they value us.
We are a team and a family and in your hands we entrust.
A caring touch matters, not trying to flatter. 


Resident Name: Flo Wilson
Facility Name: Christ the King Manor, DuBois, PA

Why We Love It Here

We don't have to cook and we don't have to clean
They get us up at the crack of dawn but we don't have to go out in the cold.
They comb our hair and clean our teeth and give us bibs for when we eat.
When day is done and there's no more fun, they tuck us in our beds to sleep.


Resident Name: Ronnie Martin
Facility Name: Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

I deserve dignity and respect. When I speak my mind, I'm empowered.  Then the quality of my life increases.  Inviting someone into my room feels good because I'm surrounded by the things I love. This is my home.

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Resident Names: Bonnie J., Flora M., Jeanne B., Pauline H., Maggie B, Rita C., Lillian C., Alice M., Lillian D., and Irene D.
Facility Name: Wachusett Manor, Gardner, MA

Quality of Care Means:
Being kind
Looking out for my best interest
Loving your job

Quality of Life Means:
Live, Love & Be Happy
A roof over your head & food to eat
Bingo

What makes Wachusett a Home:
Wonderful Care
Pleasant people
No cooking, dishes & room service

Wisdom to pass on:
Treat others the way you would like to be treated


Resident Name: Mark Vanderwater
Facility Name: Cape Heritage Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, Sandwich, MA

Make A Difference

Make a difference
Reach out and hug someone you know
Tell them how you love them
Tell them how being there makes a difference to you
And gives you a way some how to make it through the day
You make a difference
You are the difference
Right back at you
Make a difference
Make a difference


Resident Name: Brian Capshaw, Consumer Voice Leadership Board President
Facility Name: Greensprings Healthcare and Rehab, East Hartford, CT

What is care? The dictionary defines it as attentive assistance or treatment to those in need.  As nursing home residents, we fit that definition as we are in need of assistance with even simple tasks.

 

It's Monday morning and the sun shines through my window
My aide walks in all dressed in yellow
You've brought my breakfast to prepare
So I know my day is starting with people who care
My aide then helps me decide what to wear
So I'll be dressed and looking quite debonair
As my day moves forward and I'm ready to get in the wheelchair
I know a friendly face will be there
As my day continues on I know there will be activities to share
From our recreation staff that is beyond compare
As my day comes to end I'm well aware
That I have spent my day with a staff that really cares.

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Resident Name: Linda Edwards
Facility Name: Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

Staff has patience with people to provide quality care and dignity.  I enjoy looking out my window to see the wildlife, especially the hummingbirds, which are fascinating to watch hovering on flight.  Chatting with people makes me happy and joyful.


Resident Name: Barbara Ware
Facility Name: Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

The care I receive will help me to recover, so I can go on, and try to help others.  There are ways I can help and shows others that I care.  Teaching what I've learned and be willing to share.


Resident Name: Carol Holland
Facility Name: Bayview Health Care, Waterford, CT

It is important to receive quality care, so I can eventually go back home.  I try to do what my mother taught me - be helpful, caring and willing to give my time to people who need help as a volunteer.


Resident Name: Yvette Green, resident in Philadelphia, PA; Consumer Voice Board Member

If every caregiver treated their resident or consumer as they wanted to be treated, there would be no need for any type of advocacy group!


Resident Names: Martha Neil, Susan Papouschek, Betty Clowser, Nellie Hawbaker and Louise Thompson
Organization Name: PEERS at Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Chambersburg, PA

Our Long Term Home

Home is getting feedback to our suggestions for improvement.
Home is me being treated as who I am, not what I am.
Home is earned mutual respect for all under the same roof.


Resident Name: John D. Barnshaw
Facility Name: Alarishealth at Cherry Hill, NJ

Wisdom

Wisdom should be like a savings account - make plenty of deposits and watch it grow.

Before actions are done, you should know what reaction will be created.  Now that's wisdom.  Once the bell is rung, you can't unring it.

You can't buy it in a bottle, it is not for sale.  It may take a lifetime to acquire.

Don't talk too much. Learn to listen more.  They you may have a chance at wisdom.

As grandmom used to say, "Pearls cast upon the swine." Wisdom can be of no value when related to a closed mind.  To be a master at wisdom, you need a life of events and age.


Resident Name: Ellie Marquardt
Facility Name: Elmcroft at Loyalsock Senior Living, Montoursville, PA

Since I have become a member of Elmcroft and also a PEER group member, I realize the importance of caring for the elderly with understanding compassionate love.  We are the "Greatest Generation," with high morals and behavior and religion and to set an example for the younger generation.

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Resident Name: Cora Haas, resident in Carlisle, PA

I have been in this facility for four years.  I enjoy the activities and getting to know fellow residents and the staff. I live trivia games, bingo and the religious services.  They are taking care of my health and safety.


Resident Name: Etta Kapner, age 98, resident in Houston, TX

I don't like to sit around my room.  It makes you old too fast, and I have no intention of getting old.


Resident Name: the late Elvia Allen

Poem by friend of Elvia, Donna Hensley

Look into my beautiful blue eyes, I am still here.  I am someone's baby girl, sister, mother and grandmother.

Take a minute and talk to me, sing to me, pray with me.  I may not be able to respond well but I hear you.

Smile at me, give me a hug, hold my hand.  I will always be able to sense love and the Alzheimer's I was diagnosed with is not contagious But love is.

Be patient, be kind to me, I can not tell you what I need or when I hurt, I need you.

Most of all...be here for me, I am still here.


Resident Name: the late Louise Claiborne

Written by her daughter and caregiver, Deborah Claiborne

Time came and went by so fast.  The memories we have will always last.

You always knew what was best for us, we didn’t like it some times, and would put up a fuss.

Now it is our turn to do for you, everything good children should do. We helped you up when you began to fall.  You held on for dear life and anchored your all.

Yet, slowly but surely you began to drift, further and further away from your ship.  We saw you slowly drifting away, and held your anchor line with a rock to stay.  And, eventhough you may not know, we your children will not let you go.  We will hold you close until comes the time, that GOD himself will hold your line.

We’re so glad we told you we loved you in time, when you could hear us and see us and know our hearts and minds. 

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Gloria Black, advocate for bed rail safety

Not Guilty

The lifeless body of a loved one, the neck baring the imprint of the bed rail...  By the time the body is buried in the next few days, the scarring on the neck will have worsened.

"Not guilty am I," -  the response from the facility.
"Not guilty am I," -  thoughts of the doctor, who prescribed the rail.
"Not guilty am I," -  the statement from the supplier.
"GUILTY!," cries the manufacturer, with finger pointing at the family of the deceased. "You bought it."

For more information about Gloria Black's story and her advocacy, read the New York Times article.

 


Beatitudes For Friends of the Aged
by Esther Mary Walker

Blessed are they who understand my faltering steps and palsied hand.
Blessed are they who know that my ears today must strain to catch the things they say.
Blessed are they who looked away when coffee spilled on the table today.
Blessed are they with cherry smile who stop chat a little while.
Blessed are they that never say, “You’ve told that story twice today.”
Blessed are they who know the ways to bring back memories of yesterdays.
Blessed are they who make it known that I’m loved, respected and not alone.
Blessed are they who know I’m at a loss to find the strength to carry my cross.
Blessed are they who ease the days on my journey home.

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Resident Names: Marjorie Moore, Elva Daarud and Roylene Stewart
Facility Name: Twin Falls Care Center

We three at Twin Falls Lake Center feel that quality of life means having care when needed and giving respect at all times.  We need to be able to live our lives to the fullest and enjoy each day as much as possible.


Resident Name: Janis Prock
Facility Name: NHC Healthcare, Glasgow, KY

To my nurses and C.N.A. - You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray.  You all will never know how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away.


Resident Name: Sue Booterbaugh
Organization Name: PEER at Amber Springs Personal Care Home in Cambria County, PA

My name is CARE, and I’ve been going on a voyage to see how I’m given to residents in long-term care facilities and how I’m used with these residents MATTERS! 

In some facilities, the staff give me to the residents as they’d like me to be given to their own family.  Let me tell you, I’m happy here --- the residents don’t feel as though they’re abused, or they’re a burden if they have a problem --- they’re willing to talk to someone about it.  (Hey, if CARE is good, the residents’ rights are honored) and they don’t have to worry about reprisal!

Yes, in these places where I (CARE) MATTER, even though the residents have physical problems, have bad days, as we all do, the usual feeling is one of knowing that each resident is a human being and will be living in a home, but are living at home.  There are activities, seasonal decorations, medical attention on hand and very important, the resident’s rights are paid attention to.

However, I’ve also gone to facilities where I’ve wondered if I (CARE) MATTERED at all.  The residents received “so-so” (I’m being nice) care.  The staff made it quite clear by the quality of care (and too often by actual spoken word) that if they could get a better job they would.   Residents were made to feel --- “are you ringing again?  You just rang an hour ago.  You are such a pest!”

Don’t get me started on residents’ rights.  Not only are they unrecognized --- usage of them is squashed HARD!!  I saw abuse --- fear of retaliation.  The whole atmosphere made the facility dark, dreary and the residents were depressed and rarely left their room, let alone their bed.  I was even in one facility where one of the staff in the skilled care section would walk up and down the halls singing loud and clear so even the hard of hearing or those who were asleep could hear --- (it was on the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift) --- “I hate my job!  I hate these people!"  I was very sad when I saw how I (CARE) MATTERED.

I traveled to many facilities and I realize I’ve told you about two.  One on either end of how facilities were run.  If residents could use their rights, if they even knew they had any.

Remember, I introduced myself --- “My name is CARE”.  Well, I hope I’ve been able to to show you how I matter, that yes --- CARE MATTERS! 

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Residents in the poetry writing group
Facility Name: 60 West Nursing Home, Rocky Hill, CT

Thoughts of Thanks

We thank you for the simple things
Like giving us care, helping us dress,
Giving us our medicine and making our beds.
We thank you for making us good food and having a good bedside manner.

We want you to know we appreciate the special things you do.
Thank you for having the courage to deal with us.
Thank you for being there when we have problems and when we need to talk.
Thank you for making us laugh and sharing kind words and stories before we go to bed.

We know that it is rare in life to find people to help their fellow man.
So we thank you from our hearts for being the “Bomb Diggity”.
And for having our best interests at heart.
Thank you for treating us like family,
making us feel comfortable and wanted.
Thank you for giving us hope.

 

I Am

I am strong like lightening from the sky, the sun, the wind, a tornado, an earthquake.
I have the strength of nature itself.
I am strong like a bull, a motorcycle and a piece of steel.
Like a good listener, like faith and life itself.
I have the strength of a soldier and the power of the universe.

I am gentle like a mother with a baby.
Like a cat, a puppy or a dove.
I sound like singing birds and buzzing bees.
I am like a flower and a cool breeze.
I am as light as a child’s laughter.
I am gentle like everything about women.
I am a source of quiet force and peaceful thoughts.
I am still waters and love.

I am angry like rolling thunder and the colors red and white.
I am a roaring tiger and an angry elephant.
Like a mother bear who lost her cubs and the cobra ready to strike.
I am loneliness and the waves against the rocks.

I am happy when others are happy.
I am clapping hands and the shining sun.
I am the beauty of nature and the spirit of the Lord.
I am like a child running in a field, like a reunion and a day off with pay.
I am a chocolate bar.
I am yesterday and tomorrow.

I love like a parent with a child.
Like unity with my fellow man.
I love like the light of God.

 

Mixed Emotions

Christmas has not always been happy for us.
There have been years of nothing – no presents, no phone calls, no visits.
Sometimes we feel sad knowing we have missed a lot.
We remember living in places without freedom
And being unable to sing a song of Christmas joy.

But we have memories –
Of pine scented Christmas trees with silver and gold garland,
Red and green lights blinking on and off, topped with a beautiful angel.
There was a fresh green wreath with pine cones and a red bow.
And a time when there were gifts under the tree wrapped in paper decorated with snowmen.
We remember falling snowflakes, Santa Claus, Reindeer and mistletoe.
There is the smell of cinnamon and the taste of sweet cookies sprinkled with green and red sugar.
We remember the kindness of a foster mother who made crunchy round Italian cookies with nuts.
We are grateful for the joy of sharing a meal of chicken, rice and collard greens.

And there were sleigh bells, jingle bells and of course music.
Voices singing “Oh How I Love Jesus,” “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” “Precious Lord,”
“Rudolph,” and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!”
Now we are grateful for the freedom to sing and express ourselves.
Now we feel heartfelt warmth remembering our families
And we are filled with happiness for a new day!
We are happy to be here this Christmas!
Ho Ho Ho!

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Resident Name: Rita Stemple
Facility Name: Heartland of Preston County, Kingwood, WV

My Heartland Friends

Heavenly Father up above
Please protect these friends I love.
Help them to know and help them to see
That I love them, and hope they love me.
And then dear God
Help me to be
The kind of friend
They would want me to be.


Resident Name: Patty Walker
Facility Name: DuBois Nursing Home, DuBois, PA

The DuBois Nursing Home

This is the DuBois Nursing Home,
We live here each and every day,
We have the right to voice, within reason,
What we do or say,

Each month the Resident Council meets,
Where we can state our views.
They try to solve any problems we have,
and give us the latest news.

The nurses and care givers,
Try to make it comfortable for us,
They try to be helpful,
Even though we may fuss.

Nourishment is provided,
With two choices of the food.
The dining room is decorated attractively,
To put us in the mood.

Activities always have
Something for us to do.
They try to keep us busy
The whole day through.

The folks in Social Services have
A listening ear,
They listen to our cares and concerns,
The ones we hold most dear.

This is the DuBois Nursing Home,
Where we live each and every day,
The staff here hopes we have
A very pleasant day.


Residents at Smithtown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care in Smithtown, NY

Who are we? We’re residents, just like you, living in the home like you. We have many things in common and share many of the same interests. We face many of the same challenges. Here are a list of things that matter to us as individuals and as a group.

It Matters to Me

It matters to me, that I’m not awakened at 5AM unless it is a necessity.

It matters to me, that staff attempts to minimize the noise level in the hallways while I am resting.

It matters to me, that the staff follow through with my individual healthcare needs.

It matters to me that…

Socialization is a main goal for the day.

My dining experience is a positive one.

Roommates share mutual respect for one another.

It matters to me, that my substitute aides are familiar with my likes and dislikes pertaining to my care.

It matters to me,

That aides do not discuss other residents while I am receiving care.

That I am greeted every day with a smile and pleasant demeanor and not the coldness of a stranger.

It matters to me that my home is a relaxed atmosphere filled with music, laughter and good conversation.

It matters to me, that staff assists me in advocating my wishes regarding my personal affairs.

It matters to me…

That the staff treat me like a family member or a friend,

That I see visiting children and other families gathered together, and…

That my room is as cozy as possible.

The sound of the piano playing makes it sound like home. The aroma of something baking in the oven makes it smell like home. This is our home now and these are the things that matter to us.

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Resident Name: Bruce Cooper
Location: Yonkers, NY

And that’s no “yolk”.

“What would you like for breakfast”, said the young women server. “We have fried eggs this morning.”

This, being my first morning in my new home here at the assisted living center, I thought for a moment and proclaimed, “I’ll have two eggs, sunny-side up please.” What I heard next, I was not prepared for.

“Sorry”, said the young lady in a voice that can only be described as embarrassed, “No sunny-side up, no poached no soft boiled eggs.”

“Huh, what?”, I stammered. “Why not.”

“I’ll let the chef explain it to you”, she replied.

After a few minutes a man, dressed in the typical garb of a person who had been trained in the culinary arts, came to our table. Extending his hand, he said, “Hi, I’m Michael, the chef. I understand you have a question about the eggs.”

I introduced myself and asked if what the server had told me was true that “NO SUNNY-SIDE UP, SOFT BOILED OR EVEN POACHED EGGS WERE SERVED HERE.”

“That’s correct sir, and I’ll tell you why.” He said.

The story that ensued me made me angry, appalled, frustrated and downright mad. 

The chef explained to me that, because of a 20 year old rule set forth by our state department of health (the agency which certifies and inspects and implements the all the rules governing nursing homes and assisted living facilities), no food can be cooked at a temperature lower than 160 degrees F. This means that, besides meats, poultry and fish, eggs cannot be cooked with “runny” yolks which preclude anything that would even approach the likes of a sunny-side up egg.

“That’s insane”, I said indignantly. “Do you mean to tell me that every other place in this state, every greasy spoon diner, every food truck, every soup kitchen that serves eggs has to cook their eggs to 160 degrees?”

“No, only assisted living facilities, sorry”, said the chef.

I was flabbergasted. Why were we being punished? Do we not have the same rights as every other person in our state? Does the fact that we residents, because of whatever circumstances brought us here, are singled out as the only people in our state that can never again eat an egg the way we like it. 

Efforts to get a clarification of this rule from the Department Of Health proved futile. I was referred to the D.O.H. Website where, indeed, it stated what the Chef had told me. Further efforts to find out how to get this rule rescinded proved equally unproductive. I even went as far as to contact our state legislators. That was months ago. I am still waiting for a reply.

The bottom line is not the fact that we are being deprived of eating eggs with runny yolks. The principle exemplified here goes much further. It goes to some very basic rights as an individual. It also says something about an agency which in its attempts to protect us has produced just the opposite. By not allowing us to be subject to the same rules and regulations afforded every other citizen of our state, they have said to us that we (seniors) are somehow less of an individual than others. We are being singled out as a group, and not for a good reason. And, believe me, the one thing senior citizens do not want to be is singled out. Remember, we are you, just older.


Residents in the Drummers to Poets group
Facility Name: North Star Rehabilitation and Care Community, Denver, CO

These Have Been a Blessing

Blessings is a simple word
and one that is so often heard
at births and deaths and milestones
when those return
who chose to roam

As I reflect what has blessed me
there’s children, church and family
and friends and gifts
and that first kiss
the parties that I didn’t miss

Some blessings were not wrapped in light
and I drew back in fear or fright
Not recognizing at first glance
the need to walk before I danced

Blessed  - to learn to get along
Blessed  - with night
to cherish dawn

Blessed -  because I had to go
Blessed - with summer after snow

Blessed with challenge
Blessed with change
I’ll survive the blessed refrain

The Winter of My Diagnosis

MS slipped in
Quiet as a snowflake falling
Presenting symptoms all my own
Unique as snowflakes
It felt like slipping through the ice of winter
With no time to prepare
No time to put the chains on
Just days and nights of cold
Cold hands
Cold feet
the deeper cold of fear
And then
the tiny glow of hope
the embers of the fire
Of education
Support
And disease management
Snow angels shining with hope
I reached out to friends and family
To build a snowman
Eyes of coal for reading information
A scarf for the warmth of supportive relationships
A top hat to remind me of social graces
When grace under pressure was the goal
Risking
I learned to laugh once again
Riding the ski lift back
to the mountain top of my life’s dreams

Things I Might Have Done

The things I might have done back then
are things I dream of now
and if I could go back in time
I hope I could allow

My heart to open easily
to every kind exchange
my legs to hike so many paths
to frequent many planes

I’d dare to risk
so many things -
exchange regrets for chance

I’d learn at sea
and drive a car
and ski
|
and paint
and dance

I’d skydive every morning
and give more thanks at night
I’d be a friend to many
my faith would burn so bright

I’d offer up a daily prayer
to family, friends and home
I’d be the one to give a hand
to those who looked alone

Of all the things I might have done
from travels on the sea
to making more connections is

I’d be a better me

Relationships

I struggle in the early morning light
with the question that I take to bed each night
how in my life  -it can possibly be
loving you was the best and the worst thing for me

And the truth is- relationships of so many kinds
have battered my spirit and wearied  my mind
be it lover, or family or God that I seek
always yearning, always begging, always feeling incomplete

Devotion, commitment, I offer it all
when that first spark of connection lights to enthrall
but later -so often I feel the light fade
losing interest, and investment
in the promises made

I wonder if this is survival projection
a means to avoid one more hurtful rejection
I’m drifting alone in  the currents offshore
Calling out for an anchor of connection once more.

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Resident Names: Mary DePasquale and Judy Dorsey
Facility Name: Ellis Manor, Hartford, CT

My Name is Mary DePasquale and I’m on the Executive Board of the Statewide Coalition of Presidents of Resident Councils (E-Board).  I’ve been an RN for 47 years.  I have spent 6 years working in nursing homes and the rest in pediatrics.  For the past 8 years, I’ve been at Ellis Manor in Hartford, CT as a patient.  

I’ve seen so many random acts of kindness over the years by staff members who have enriched the lives of others and brightened their spirits.  Some have provided articles of clothing, haircuts, yarn and knitting needles, hair dying, etc.  The list goes on.  They truly possess kind hearts.  

As patients, we should be kind to each other and helpful when we can.  Even a smile or a conversation can brighten a day.  

The following letter was presented to Carolee Collins, the Recreation Director of Ellis Manor, when she retired.  She is known as “Corky”, and has always been a tremendous patient  advocate.  The letter speaks for itself that CARE matters.

My Dear Corky,

It’s only January 1st 2015 and I feel the need to write this letter now.  When the time comes that you retire it will be too painful for me, it is by far one of the hardest letters for me to write.

When I first came here it was the end for April 2014, every day you would come in my room, you were so annoying with your smiles and so happy.  I was in mourning and just wanted to die.  I’d watch you enter my room and say to myself “Oh God, here she comes again, why doesn’t she just leave me alone!”  Well, it’s good for me you didn’t.  I started thinking, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to go with her, maybe it would be fun. Well I gave in to your charm and haven’t turned back once.

I don’t know how anyone will be able to replace you.  It’s not just what we see that you do, I’m sure you do a lot at home too. 

Now it’s time for us to let you enjoy your life with your family, and enjoy your other activities.  

I’m not going to say good-bye that would be too painful.  I’ll speak for my fellow residents and say God bless you, good luck, best of health, and come see us often. 

I know this will be painful for many of us, but you’ll always be in our hearts and thoughts.  I know you’ll think of us often, after being here so long, seeing us everyday it’s hard not to get attached to us, even those of us that give you trouble now and then.  

Just know how much we love you.  God truly has blessed us by putting us here and letting us meet one of his special angels here on earth. You have made our time here so much more pleasant for so many of us. As the song goes, “You are my sunshine” you truly are ours.  Hope you enjoy every day of your retirement, you certainly have earned it God bless you. 

Now it’s April 2, 2015 and that day is here.  My heart is so heavy I can hardly get these words out.  If God ever blessed me with a sister, I hope she would’ve been one third the person you are.  You have meant so much to me, I’ll never forget you.  Thank you for getting me out of the depression I was in when I arrived here; you knew what I needed more than I did.  

I hope I can show people one-tenth the love, compassion and kindness you show all of us everyday.  I think I’m a good judge of people and I know there’s nothing put on by you, your actions are from the heart. You really do care for us. 

I know this will be a tough time for you, so I will ask God to make it a little easier for you to go through. 

I love you, we all love you.  May God keep you well for a long time to come.  I wanted to end this letter by saying you were God’s gift to Ellis Manor, but that would be and understatement; with all you do you’re God’s gift to the world.  

God bless you Corky, God blessed us by letting us have time with you for awhile.  

All our love and gratitude, 

Judy Dorsey

...and all the people whose hearts you touched here, past and present.


Resident Name: Grace Abramowitz
Facility Name: Milford Manor, Baltimore, MD

Care Matters

Humane
Unconditional love
Giving and receiving
Sharing
Mutual respect
Expressing my feelings - Getting feedback
Smiling - someone smiling back at me
A place to cry unashamedly
Friends
Not feeling like a burden
At peace with myself
Little things matter

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Resident Name: Joanne Grana

I am a Person

You are busy.
Overworked and underpaid,
Remember...
I am a person.
I am one of many.
You don't have time to waste,
Remember...
I am a person.
I appreciate the care you give.
It helps live,
Remember...
I am a person.


Resident Name: Larry Manoff
Facility Name: Abramson Center for Jewish Life, North Wales, PA

"Patrick passed away."

The email left me devastated. Pat was a close friend for 45 years.

But, my grief was soothed by caring, comforting support and solace from the staff and other residents here.

That's how I got through this.


Resident Name: M. Hull
Facility Name: Kenedy Health Care, Kenedy, TX

Quality of Life, is like spice. 
If you’re looking for care or someone to brush your hair. 
Kenedy Health Care a great place to be. Come See!!!
We try our best…we are above the rest.
Just 50 men with a grin, looking for a dear friend.
We like activities, we like to eat or be outside in the heat.
We play ball, bingo and draw, we like it all.
Our crew is great…and always looking for a date.
We are always busy and looking for fun.
We come from Dallas, Houston, Port Lavaca and all…. some from other states some…. from the great lakes.
We have our own style and go the extra mile.
See what we are about and you sure wont pout!
These boys from Kenedy are what it’s all about.
You want to laugh or need a smile come a while.
You will never be sad and surely glad with this rad clad.


Residents at the Bishop Spencer Place, Kansas City, MO

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Resident Name: Woodrow Wilson
Facility Name: Palisade Gardens, Westchester, NY

A Home is Not a Home

That is an adult home is not a home.  It is an institution.  The State, the owner, the administrator and the staff cannot make it a home.  The only ones who can make it a home are the residents, and they will have to work at it.  Good food is a break three times a day.  No matter what else is going on in the home, good food is something the residents can enjoy.  Respect from staff is very important and the residents will find that they will have to earn that respect.  They will find that if they can show to the administrator that what they do and the things they ask for will enhance the home, the owner will realize that what they’re doing is helping him as much as it’s helping the residents.  The owner, the administrator nor the staff live in the home, but the residents live there, and it is their home.  They have no other home and they would like for it to be the best home possible.


Resident Name: Janice Driver
Facility Name: Palisade Gardens, Westchester, NY

A New Light

With each and every day comes a new experience, and a new adventure to light my way.  My path in life is as straight and narrow as an arrow.

My good deeds outweigh my bad deeds.  My thoughts are like seeds.  I plant them in my garden of life and they blossom like flowers all day and all night.

When I awake in the morning, I give thanks to Our Lord for letting me see another day.  With my health and my strength may I say thank you for a new light and a new day.  Life!


Resident Names: Mirza Asare, Teresa Bartko, Janice Driver, Joshua Kurtzberg, Tony Lopez,  George Sanzone, and Bodhan Sochan
Facility Name: Palisade Gardens, Westchester, NY

I came because my mother was dying and there was no place else to go.  I have no one else.  I was scared and worried.  It was overwhelming and challenging.  I had to find out where everything was.  I closed myself off.  I sat in the hallway and read books.  It was a new adventure. God is with me everywhere I go.   God will provide wisdom and protect me.    I have been around crazy people my whole life.  I looked around and thought “It’s like the Addams Family.  This place is cool.”  This place is too noisy.  When I look around the room, I see a big family until someone starts screaming, yelling and cursing.  What we have right now is each other.  We make our own family.  We smoke.  The staff bugs me about my diet.  When someone needs help, they’ll give a helping hand.  I couldn’t believe I actually missed this place.  You get used to your family here.  I am comfortable.

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