Jasmine had her first therapy visit tonight. We have taken over the alzheimer's floor in a nursing home. It was pretty overwhelming for both of us, and extremely sad.
One woman thought Jasmine was her dog, and started crying saying "you brought my dog omg, thank you" and then tried to take the leash from me. Even though we explained she was just a therapy dog she didn't understand... and yelled and cried when we left..
Jasmine seemed to favor the people that were more.. "with it".. than the people that were more out of it. I'm not sure how much she's going to like this floor. And not sure how much I can handle the people laying in their beds screaming, the people going down the halls in their wheelchairs crying.. reaching their hands out to me as if to say save me... it's extremely depressing.
The one nice part was this man that was cursing at the nurses and just completely miserable. We asked if he wanted to meet the dog and his face lit up. He started talking baby talk to her, and she kissed his arms. That was sweet.
Anyone else do therapy work in nursing homes? Any advice? I'm pretty depressed.
I have never done therapy and have no advice for you but I want to tell you that I think you and Jasmine are providing a wonderful service to those people as evidenced by the man's reaction. I hope it gets better for both of you. (((hugs)))
Sounds like your dog is off to a great start with the new career. Keep up the good work!
We do therapy work in schools libraries for hospice patients on the oncology floor at the local hospital on the pediatrics floor of the hospital occasionally at a rehab facility for teens on requests for other places too
It is rewarding but can be difficult as well
I have three therapy dogs one who is semi retired and two that are very actively working
Patch O' Pits , Home to Greatly Loved Ch GRCH, Therapy, & Agility APBTs "When it Rains Play in the mud"
I took my previous dog to nursing homes. The residents seemed to love him. Some didn't want to pet him, others loved all over him. Some were just a bit nervous at his size (he weighed in around 115#). Just keep your smile on and your chin high. Know that a lot of these people aren't going to remember you, but some might remember the dog. Keep up the good work.
Riley, just try to concentrate on the fact that the dog is doing a wonderful service to these people (as are you). It's pretty hard if you've never been exposed to a home with Alzheimer's patients. Don't take the crying and carrying on to heart, its all part of the disease unfortunately, and you are not the cause of it, not can you do anything about it. If someone does what that lady did (and it's bound to happen), just fimly and nicely as you can remove yourself from the room, and go on to the next one, and you'll get used to it. Many of the clients in the home will be overjoyed just to see a dog, so concentrate on those ones, and try not to let the other ones worry you. I think it's a great thing you're doing, good for you.
what time of the day did you go and visit them? just wondering because i started to go to school for cna work and one of our clincals was at a nursing home on a alzheimers floor. they go through more emotions at night, it is called sun-downing. (hence the reason for it happening more at dusk to early evening hours) i am not sure why this happens by my feeling is that they are feeling lost, left behind, or something along those lines, maybe request to go earlier in the day? between breakfast and lunch or somewhere shorly after noon.
**after one patient passed away i decided that that was not the carrer for me**
Awwww that is so good that you take her around and do that! The people, well most of them, must love that! I have been trying to look into doing that with my dog because he just loves people making a big fuss over him, like in the old peoples home.
Alzheimer's patients require routine. Is there a specific time and day that you know you'll be able to make it every week?Speak with the nurses on the floor about organizing a get-together when you know that you'll be able to visit with Jasmine, possibly in a large activity room on the ward that the nurses can gather all the patients that THEY know are open to visiting with the dog?
Going room to room with Jasmine may upset a patient's daily schedule, which will lead to more and more experiences like you had your first time.
IMO, and speaking from witnessed experience, patients LOVE pet visits. If you decide to stick with this, you'll get to know some of the residents, and your visits will become so much more meaningful, both to you and to Jasmine.
What you're doing is awesome - but it's okay if a floor with Alzheimer's patients freaks you out a little...some nurses can't even handle it, so don't feel bad if you decided it's not what you want to do!
When my mawmaw was in a nursing home, I went to visit every day. Even though I was going to see her specifically, I had the kids with me and they were young. The residents were so excited to see them that it got to be quite normal for my walk to her room to last 20 minutes! They would talk to the kids, and to me, and the kids would sing them songs and give out hugs. And there were certain ones that were always in the hall just outside their room that if they weren't there, we'd go say hi in their rooms. I made friends-- Miss Corrine, Miss Ida, Mr. Hutchins.
I still never did leave that place dry-eyed. Didn't let myself get too worked up but always teary when I left because for every one that was happy to see us and appeared to be doing okay, there were ones who were catatonic or downright out of their minds. I often cried on the way home.But I was glad that we could stop and talk with some people that just might not have anyone else coming by to talk to them.
"Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those that matter, don't mind...And those that mind....don't matter."
Let me just start out by saying that I think what you and Jasmine are doing is very awesome. There are few people in this world like you who truly care about others.
My husband used to lay floors commercially and his company used to have a contract with a health facility. He would routinely have to go and work during the night there because of not being able to have "sharp" tools around some of the residents. I am sad to say that he always was speaking about the Alzheimer's floor....He was very sad about the whole thing and we constantly talked about it. It would definitly help if you maybe made a friend w/ one of the more sympathetic nurses there so that you both can "talk" about it and let it out. My husband definitly could not leave it in, as he said it was extremely depressing. (He has had many stories that are on the extreme side, as well as funny ones.) So, all in all, if this is what you want to do w/ Jasmine I would just find someone you can talk all this over with who is experienced. Definitly don't feel bad if you end up making the choice that this isn't for you, as I can imagine (from DH's Stories) that it is EXTREMELY stressful if you can't find a way around it....
Thanks for all the advice. We went around 6, after everyone had dinner.
One woman in paticular asked where her husband was, and the person that went with me told her that he died X years ago. She said oh no and started crying. I know thats something that typically happens with an alzheimers patient but it was just sad. I guess I just have to get used to these things.
Next visit we will try earlier in the day. It all depends when I'm working.
LOR I'm sooo excited that you finally got to go on a visit!!!!
I'm sorry that your first time was a downer, but keep at it, it will get better. Just hang on to the memories of the people that Jasmine DID bring out. It is a truly amazing thing!
That reminds me, for those of you that do therapy work.
I had a great idea for a collar cover for Evie (he is the dog in my avatar). Since it looks like he has a tux on anyways with his coloring, I thought I'd buy an old tuxedo shirt at a 2nd hand place and use the collar of the shirt to make a collar cover. Then I'd get a black bow tie to finish the look, whadaya think? I think it'd be fun for the residents to see this gentleman walk into their room!
That is great Ashley. What a wonderful service you and Jasmine are doing. My mom had demensia along with her Parkinson's disease and any disease that effects the brain is horrible. Keep up the good work. I'm sure you both are a blessing to these poor suffering people.
I am thinking about doing the same thing with Daisy, our foster. Well soon to be our adoptee. lol She is a big lover and would enjoy the attention. When me grandmother was in the nursing home, i would go visit.There was a lady accross the hall from her that spotted me and thought i was her daughter. The nursing staff said that she had family, but they never came to see her. So i made sure to visit them both and continued going even after my grandmother passed away. Some of these people have no one and it makes a huge impact on them having visitors.
My mother has alzheimers. I see her slowly slipping away from us. People with dimentia, have some moments when they are completely lucid. You just never know when. Sometimes when we think they do not know whats going on around them, they surprise us. I know its hard to deal with Riley, but you are brightening the lives of people that may otherwise have no one. Keep up the good work.
If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.
Riley... we do therapy, and there are places that I cannot visit. It's hard to find somewhere where you and your dog are both comfortable. Beulah and I are now doing homeless outreach, and we both are loving it so far! It is a perfect mix of craziness and calm. Even though you want to do therapy, do not feel bad if some situations are just too hard for you. We all have different sensitivities like that. We used to go to a rehabilitation facility for women in detox... and one time a lady cried and cried, hugging Beulah the whole time and I couldn't keep it together. I just joined in the crying! lol... a lot of help that was, I am sure!!! Stick with it for a while, the immediate "shock" of those types of situations often wear off quickly which enables you to stay there.
"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else."