I love working with dementia residents.....

  1. :heartbeat I've been at the LTC facility where I work since August. This is my first CNA job and in the beginning it was a shock and a discouragement. Never have I worked so hard for such little pay! When I was awarded with my certification as a nurse's aide my pay went up, so that helped a bit. Nevertheless, the pace of keeping up with the volume of work that was required just to do a barely adequate job....the constant hounding by all the other CNA's on my days off -- hey can you take my shift ??? --- the grueling workload.....the long evenings away from my family and their struggle to take care of my own disabled little son.....I had only been here a couple of months and was burned out and ready to go AWOL.....

    Then a ray of hope An employee quit in December and her position became open -- no one wanted it. I asked the ward clerk to give me her shift --like NOW. It was a day shift in the Special Care Unit....the facility for our dementia/Alzheimer's residents. The lounge area looks like a nice living room with big easy chairs and picture windows....it's a lockdown facility so it's isolated from the crazy hustle of the resident hallways where I used to work. The atmosphere is quiet and the pace is laid back (most of the time!!) The capacity is only for 12 residents and there are always 2 aides on duty, except during the second half of the evening shift when most of the residents are in bed. I love working there!! I don't mind the little lady who asks every 5 minutes --where am I, I'm scared-- I love that little guy who stands there holding his walker for 15 minutes while you cue him to sit down in his chair but is so distracted he just doesn't do it......the other little lady who speaks constantly in gibberish. I love all of them, but I can understand why no one wanted that shift. It takes a special kind of patience and forbearance to work with these residents, and if you like the hustle and bustle of LTC resident halls, you'll be bored and frustrated. However, this is just what I've been wanting, to work in a facility where I can give really 'up close and personal' care to people. I have the time to do a really good job assisting with ADL's because the staffing allows for constant supervision of some of the residents who require one-on-one. Because it's a day shift, I actually get to sit down with my family in the evenings for dinner -- I think that was what I missed the most on the evening shift.

    Every day is a challenge working with these special people....and sometimes I have to keep a certain little lady from ramming people with her walker......but I feel fortunate to be happy with what I'm doing.
  2. Visit interceptinglight profile page

    About interceptinglight

    Joined: Nov '10; Posts: 355; Likes: 410
    CNA at Good Samaritan Village, Moscow, ID


  3. by   LaterAlligator
    I agree, I work in a secure Assisted Living facility for people with dementia & it's the best job I've had in this field. Even though it's AL & not a skilled nursing facility, some of the residents are total care/mechanical lifts, but because it's dementia, ourr staffing ratios allow us to actually take good care of everyone. I also get a huge kick out of the lady that fondly pats my cheek & tells me I'm a "nice boy" (I'm female). And even though some of ours can be very combative, overall the good outweighs the bad. Glad to see someone else that loves this area on here
  4. by   yousoldtheworld
    Agreed - I loved working in the dementia unit and sometimes I really miss it! It was awesome to have staffing that allowed proper care for the residents, and sometimes even activities! And the work was far less physical than most of the other areas of LTC. The residents also tend to be really funny!

    Congratulations, I'm really glad you got it.
  5. by   fuzzywuzzy
    What are the residents like in the other units? Nearly all of our long term care peeps are demented.
  6. by   interceptinglight
    Quote from fuzzywuzzy
    What are the residents like in the other units? Nearly all of our long term care peeps are demented.
    Actually, quite a few residents in our LTC facility do have some level of dementia, and some more than others. However, the Special Care Unit is very expensive and it may be a matter of economics for some -- also the SCU cannot except total lift residents because it would require even more staffing, although we have 2 sit-to-stand residents.
  7. by   yousoldtheworld
    The dementia unit I worked in was only for people in the early to middle stages of alzheimers. They had to be ambulatory to be back there (they had to be able to ambulate independently or with limited assist of 1), and many were wanderers or in need of more stimulation than the healthcare unit provided. A lot of focus was put on doing activities with them. I really loved it!
  8. by   JDZ344
    I'm glad you find somewhere you love! It really takes someone special to work in that environment. I bet the residents love you too!
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 21, '14
  9. by   LaterAlligator
    Quote from fuzzywuzzy
    What are the residents like in the other units? Nearly all of our long term care peeps are demented.
    When I worked "regular" Assisted Living, a lot of the residents had *some* confusion or dementia, but not to the point where they needed a secure unit; they wouldn't just wander off and get lost. They might forget where their room was, but wouldn't leave the building. They also generally didn't have huge difficulties chewing and swallowing.

    Those seem to be the very biggest differences between the secure unit where I am now and the other places; lots of difficulty eating as the dementia advances (we have a more independent dining room for those who will feed themselves or will do so with cueing, and then a less independent one with many feeder tables) and an inability to safely stay in the building (they'll try to leave or wander out into the secure courtyards even when it's dark and cold out, and wouldn't be able to get themselves back inside without help).
  10. by   SoothingSister2
    I also work in a secure high-dependency behavioural-specialty dementia lodge and find working with the residents the easy bit. I'm really overwhelmed by the lack of time for any training, the enormous amount of documentation that is required and the difficulties with working with a different person each shift. Am really struggling and am on the way to be becoming jaded with aged care. any advice?Thanks