Advocacy for the Elder Nurse
A Nurse's Story: No Greater Love
This is the story of a mother and son's unconditional love for each other, in sickness and in health. Mother and son belong to each other, connected from the beginning. Verona is a multi-talented nurse, from bedside nursing to community involvement and research. She retired from nursing at the Veterans Hospital in Brooklyn and has relocated in Florida, when her son Rodney got sick and deteriorated from Ataxia, a dreaded debilitating disease. They had a good life for a while, coping with their own limitations dining out and watching movies every Friday. Rodney dances in the wheelchair with his mom and they were each other’s healthcare proxy and taking care of each other’s ADL needs when necessary. He motivated and gave support to her to go on with her life while he has the life-threatening diagnosis, which ended up with him in a nursing home. The disease ate him from every aspect of life, his breathing, talking, mobility and all that make man human. He became a vegetable with a mind. He succumbed to death and this photo can only show the pain of a mother to bury her own son. Is there a greater love than this?
A little more than a month later, her second son, Sean who has been struggling with Ataxia as well, succumbed to death, leaving Verona in unfathomable pain, but with a great relief for a nurse who is sick and struggling for her own health as well. To all of these, her resiliency and strength of spirit is unequalled. Who can take all and move on life, a gift so preciously mysterious, in a world so beautiful?
Natividad Abalos, RN
Nurses look good and well preserved with age despite the hard work and stress-filled lifestyles in their working years. They definitely know how to age gracefully. However, aging is another phase of life, inevitable and yet could be a graceful bow from this stage to the next.
As we took care of the sick, we know how the final stage ends. Let us embrace one another so that we can make our final years a pleasant experience. This is our tribute to our elderly nurses, that they may be as comfortable as possible, that there is no longer anything that they can want but peace.
The Beauty of Age
This is “A Day in the life of a gerontological nurse” …
By Myrna D. Santos, RN
I’m an ICU nurse for over 30 years taking care of our veterans, specializing on geriatrics. While I am delighted with the final phase of life… as I enjoy narratives of their lives, with all the wisdom gained through their ages, I’m saddened as well with the problems that accompany them: depression, homelessness, malnutrition/failure to thrive, financial and physical dependence, verbal abuse and neglect.
While their physical space has shrunk smaller in that nursing home, their needs back to the basics: roof over their heads, food in their stomach, and clothing in their back. Surround them with memories of their rich lives: photos of their loved ones, a phone to connect with friends and families, TV for entertainment and stimulation, snacks to promote their nutrition, a clock and calendar to keep them oriented, religious memorabilia to maintain their faith. Take care in your choice of colors in their room: red blankets, a sign of life. Think safety, walkers, and comfortable shoes as they need.
As the aging population is growing, I felt that I should make the aging process as pleasant and peaceful experience through gerontology, the art and science of aging. My goal is to provide quality care to the elderly and prepare them to move forward as we plan together on “How to celebrate their 100th birthday".
This is Mr. Fred Medina and me on one Sunday afternoon, as I visited him in his nursing home. We took a walk through life...a walk that both of us will definitely remember.