I had an experience with a client recently that I would like to share.
I went to her primary care physician appointment with her. She has been having some medical problems, and has gone for some tests to determine cause and treatment. I have been to 3 prior appointments to this doctor with this client.
My client moved into an assisted living facility about 1 years ago. It was not an easy transition for her to go from living on her own in the community to a group living environment. She would talk with me throughout the year about struggling with things like, getting along with others, who have a different perspective than her, and about not liking the food.
I, however, could see positive signs, for example, when she was in the hospital for an illness, and she came back, every person that she passed in the hallway was so happy to see her and to know that she was well again. This is significant when you think about what it would have been like for her to return to her apartment in the community with no one to greet her.
So, on this particular doctor’s appointment, as we were talking, the doctor stopped and took a moment to say that she thought my client was much more talkative, and interactive than she had been in past appointments. We discussed this a little, and I attribute the change to the move and life in an assisted living facility, where she shared meals and activities everyday with others.
I do not think that everyone should move to assisted living. My work is about exploring the best options for each individual client. Also, I did not recommend this assisted living move for this client. She had already made the arrangements, and we had also just met prior to her move.
But what I think is significant about this little story is what a positive change this made for this one person. We talk about elders being isolated and the negative effect that has on their physical and mental health. Here was an example of how reducing isolation, made a positive difference, even when the move was still challenging, and life not perfect.