This morning the Fox News affiliate in Philadelphia broke the horrifying news of nurses abusing a 76-year old Alzheimer’s patient. Myfoxphilly reports:
Two staff members at a nursing home in Winter Haven are facing serious charges after police say video captured them “tormenting” and battering a 76-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.
Their names are Yashika Zenobiaha Jones, 28, and Rose Dorlean Blaise, 35. Police released video Thursday showing several different incidents.
It was captured by the victim’s son, Dale Wilson, who had noticed random bruising on his father. In early October, he set up a hidden camera at the Palm Gardens Nursing Home on Cypress Gardens Boulevard.
What he captured was disturbing.
The actions of those two nurses moves beyond horrifying into the realm of unfathomably cruel. Here we have a man whose memory is leaving him in increments. One day he can remember who he is, where he lives, who his family and friends are. And the next day, or weeks/months down the road, much of that is gone. Can you imagine what it must be like to KNOW that you should know the person you are talking to? Can you imagine the emotions when you all of a sudden realize that the person you are talking to, whom you couldn’t remember 10 seconds ago, is your husband/daughter/granddaughter/best friend? To know for certain one day that you were President of the United States, and the next day you cannot remember that your name is Ronald Reagan? Embarrassment, pain, anger, and sorrow would be just a few of those emotions a patient battling Alzheimers deals with.
Lets look at it from another point of view. What if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and realize that no matter what you do, your talent such as painting or music will soon be lost in the fog of your mind? William Utermohlen knows:
When he learned in 1995 that he had Alzheimer’s disease, William Utermohlen, an American artist in London, responded in characteristic fashion.
“From that moment on, he began to try to understand it by painting himself,” said his wife, Patricia Utermohlen, a professor of art history.
Mr. Utermohlen’s self-portraits are being exhibited through Friday at the New York Academy of Medicine in Manhattan, by the Alzheimer’s Association.
The paintings starkly reveal the artist’s descent into dementia, as his world began to tilt, perspectives flattened and details melted away. His wife and his doctors said he seemed aware at times that technical flaws had crept into his work, but he could not figure out how to correct them.
Glen Campbell, currently in stage 6 of Alzheimers disease, most certainly knew what it would do. He was diagnosed in 2011, and with his family decided to embark on the Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour. It was a tough tour, even more so when Glen’s Alzheimer’s would manifest itself at unexpected times as his daughter Ashley, who toured with him knows.
But Ashley will also admit that living with someone with Alzheimer’s can be a true strength-tester. “It’s a roller coaster, a very emotional one,” Ashley says. “You never know what you’re gonna get. On the one hand, that’s my dad so it’s great to spend time with him and be in his work environment.” At that, Ashley pauses, as if trying to stifle a tear. “But it’s also heartbreaking to see this disease robbing him of what he does best.”
The fans who attended all his concerts knew what they would see during the tour. Did they respond with cruelty or jeering? Far from it, they responded with the utmost compassion and respect. Last month, Glen’s wife Kim wrote in Fox News:
His last show was at the Uptown Theater in Napa, Calif., on Nov. 30, 2012.
The first 15-20 minutes were a train wreck. He was having difficulties. His guitar wasn’t loud enough. It didn’t have the quality he wanted. He became very agitated on stage. He kept turning his back to the audience. His band was very uncomfortable. It was a tough show.
But the audience, again, was so supportive. They cheered for him without fail and without question. They loved him unconditionally.
He snapped back and finished the show strong. It was good, but it was clear it was time for us to end the tour and say farewell.
He closed the show with “A Better Place.”
Daily we pray for grace and mercy as he approaches the final stages of this illness and are so thankful for the moments we see Glen being Glen
Caring for Alzheimer’s patients is extremely difficult. They are daily losing their sense of self, their sense of worth, their talent, and their memories; especially when they move into the last stages of this insidious disease. As the disease progresses, caregivers need to draw upon every ounce of grace, humility, and compassion they have for the patient. Yashika Zenobiaha Jones and Rose Dorlean Blaise, along with 4 other employees at that facility horrifically exhibited and demonstrated the opposite when caring for Mr. Wilson’s father and other patients at the Palm Garden Nursing Home.
One day, those two ladies will need caregivers as they approach the end of their lives. As this writer knows extremely well, the very best caregivers can bring joy, peace, grace, and comfort to the patient AND their families as the time to say goodbye approaches. As appalled and horrified as we are by Yashika and Rose’s callousness, as much as a part of all of us would wish them harm, this writer can’t. Because one day both ladies will need a caregiver who will not torment them, but instead treat them with grace and compassion whether they deserve it or not. One day, they too will need “A Better Place.”