The 3rd Floor

A very personal story written by our scheduler Amanda Steben-Allard, who prior to joining our office team worked as a caregiver.
By Home Care Assistance - February 22, 2019

Home Care Assistance Montreal is the only home care solution offering an innovative, science-based approach to aging. We elevate the standard of care for seniors everywhere. In “Care Diaries” we feature heartfelt stories from Canadians telling their current life stories about the reality of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

When you sign up to be a caregiver, no one ever tells you that you are also signing up for the acting role of a life time. It takes improv, creativity and acceptance to be a caregiver. It’s 9:30pm on the 3rd floor. The care floor. I feel like a proud parent at bedtime. Everyone has been fed, bathed, teeth brushed, pyjamas on and are tucked into bed. It’s time to settle down and do some housekeeping. Mop the floors, load the dishwasher, set up the dining room for breakfast the next morning, and prepare tomorrows snacks. Before starting the tasks that await me, I do one more round because I know very well that although for some it’s time to sleep the night away, for others it’s a whole other world.

I start my round in wing B. Mr. T’s light is already switched on. Here we go. I am no longer caregiver of floor 3, I am now Holly, the office secretary. I knock and go on in. “Good afternoon Mr. T, how can I help you” He stands in front of me in his old black blazer, tie around his neck and his blue striped pyjamas. He has an old newspaper tucked under his right arm and in his other, he is holding a book, otherwise known as his “briefcase “.

“Holly! Today is a busy day, I am awaiting an important call and I cannot find my phone!” I reach up into his closet, on the top shelf, where I know very well there is a lifeless old portable phone. I hand it to him.

“Today has been a busy day, why don’t you take a break and have a seat” I set him up in his cozy lazy boy, turn the television on to the news and leave the phone on the little table next to him. “If the phone rings, it will be right here, and I will take any messages that come in for you!” This should hold him off for a little while.

I finish with Wing B and head on over to wing A. I can hear Mrs. S before I see her. I turn the corner and there she is scurrying down the hallway with her purse in hand, pink nighty and little high heels. I am now Clarisse, the hotel clerk.

“Hello Mrs. S, why do you look so worried, how can I help you” I already know the answer, but I will play along. She is on vacation with her husband and he has been gone a while. She is wondering if I have seen him. “Of course, I have seen him. He mentioned he forgot some bags in the car. He will be back up in a moment” She isn’t too convinced. I settle her into the chairs by the elevator. Put a blanket over her lap. “Let’s wait right here, this way when he comes up, you are sure to catch him this way” I distract her with a glass of cranberry juice and some social tea biscuits, We aren’t supposed to give snacks this late, but who’s going to tell?

It’s 11:00pm, 30 minutes to go. Mr. T is snoring away. Mrs. A is passed out by the elevator where she will spend most of the night. I do one more round before completing my charting notes. I head back to Wing A. This time, I am Janet the nanny. I open the door and Mrs. M is up in bed as expected, rocking her baby Ruby. “Mrs. M, you look very tired, you should rest while Ruby sleeps”. She hands me over the raggedy cabbage patch baby doll. I gently tuck her into one of Mrs. M’s drawers in the bureau next to her bed. Also known as baby Ruby’s bassinet. We leave the light on and Mrs. M lays down. I know she is putting on a show and will be up in a few minutes. But for now, she is settled.

11:30pm rolls around. I have finished my charting notes and have given the overnight staff an update. I leave now, Amanda, evening caregiver of the 3rd floor. I wonder who I will be tomorrow.

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