I just finished seeing the majority of the residents for my nursing home caseload. As it usually is, today’s clinical concerns were most challenging to confront.
It’s really diffult to sit with resident after resident who is experiencing severe symptoms of depression, including suicidal ideation.
Many of my residents feel as though they have lost the majority of control over their lives. Often, this increased helplessness stems from the impact of serious medical issues. Other times, there are problematic situations involving their adult children and/or grandchildren.
Regardless, it is emotionally draining to be up close and personal with such intense personal suffering. Initially, I attempt to meet residents where they are emotionally, to validate the reason(s) for their distress.
Afterward, I attempt to ascertain at least one area that they do have control over in their lives, no matter how seemingly trivial.
Finally, I encourage my residents to cultivate gratitude. Even in the midst of the most trying of circumstances, there still remains something for which we can express thanks.