Confessions of a Dutiful Son: How to Visit a Nursing Home

By Callahan, James J., Jr. | Aging Today, September/October 2005 | Go to article overview

Confessions of a Dutiful Son: How to Visit a Nursing Home


Callahan, James J., Jr., Aging Today


One Gerontologist ond His Aged Mother

About a year ago, my 97-year-old mother, Martha, died in a nursing home after having been there for about two years. Many times during that period, I did not like to visit because I was tired of the responsibility for her and I did not like the feelings engendered in me by the nursing home environment.

The dutiful son in me was tired of being responsible for my mother's well-being for more than 33 years since my father had died. Keeping up the home, caregiving after a broken hip, moving into my house, moving to assisted living, moving out of assisted living, moving to a nursing home, arranging power of attorney, decision making about medical care, decision making about financial matters, applying for Medicaid, providing emotional support in emergency rooms-and more-had the dutiful son saying, "Enough is enough." This thought, of course, upset the loving son in me, who responded, "It's your mother-she still worries about you, and she is a living family memory with a few more secrets to divulge-you should be happy she is still around." Both the dutiful son and the loving son, however, ultimately merged into one as I sadly observed my mother's decline and eventual death.

REPOSITORY OF LOSS

I did not like walking down the halls of the nursing home, even though it is a good one. It is clean, bright, doesn't usually smell and the staff know and care about the residents. At one point, the nurses helped my mother recover from pneumonia after the hospital gave up. During her final illness, they were kind and caring as she worked through the dying process over a period of four or five days, but the nursing home is a repository of human loss-loss or partial loss of all those abilities people had when they were young. The visuals of a nursing home are tough, with wheelchairs, diapers, respirators and the like. Toughest for me are the eyes of the residents-the pleading eyes seeking solace, the blank eyes not aware, but most of all the intelligent eyes revealing awareness and understanding of their situation and personal history now incorporated in memories. I don't like the thought of my own future that these scenes provoke in me. Ten years ago I was 58, and a decade from now I will be 78, but I don't know how I will feel or where I will be. It's no fun visiting a nursing home.

But I did visit my mother regularly and have devised a few psychological and practical routines that might be helpful to others. First, I allocated a generous and fixed amount of time for the visit, so that I did not feel harried or cheated out of free time. The allocation was two hours, which included a 25-minute drive each way; a minimum of 30 minutes with my mother; and additional time talking with the nurses about her status, checking laundry, rearranging her room and so on. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Confessions of a Dutiful Son: How to Visit a Nursing Home
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.