When I arrived at the Care Home to pick my mother up, I was surprised to see her surrounded by her new crew. A group of old ladies had been hanging on her every word. Oh God – what had she been saying.
One of the staff took me aside and said there might have been a small problem with one of the residents – an old white Jamaican woman who apparantly belonged to a family that used to own a plantation . When I arrived she was in the corner of the room talking to herself – but apart from that, my mother had been well accepted.
Certainly – she was sitting on the edge of a sofa with one old lady’s head against her shoulder. As soon as I entered my mother thrust an empty glass into my hand and told me to get a re-fill for her new friend. When I returned with the glass of orange juice the adorable old lady took it from me gratefully, and asked if she could touch my hair. Well, that hasn’t happened to me since 1965, but I didn’t think she meant anything by it at all, so congenially, I lowered by head.
They were a nice bunch overall, and although some were showing signs of depression and anxiety, that is generally true in society. And as my mother later pointed out – so what? If one or two are depressed, she didn’t feel that had anything to do with her and how she felt.
The verdict it seems is that my mother is happy to return there for the odd week when I have to go away. But really, the reason she is so strong and young for her age is because she is involved in every day life here with me, and if she went to a Care Home full time, who knows what would happen to her.