Racism still living freely in elderly...

  1. Have you witness a resident verbally discriminating a coworker? How pathetic that its still lives in the minds of our elderly.
    Last edit by mandykal on Jun 3, '04
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   VioletX
    My preceptor and I were helping to bathe this older patient. I am white, my preceptor is black and the patient is black. With me standing right beside her, the patient looks at my preceptor and says, "you are the best nurse, I like you because you are my color".

    My jaw dropped!
  4. by   FROGGYLEGS
    Oh yes, I have definitely seen this A LOT with my elderly patients. The ones that are becoming a bit confused seem to be the worst....I think thats because they don't think about what they are saying as much.

    I was a bit shocked by it at first, but I've seen it so much now that I'm just accustomed to it. They refuse certain roommates, nurses, aides and everything. It makes it difficult to care for them alot of times. I once had a resident in LTC that was white and refused to let any non-whites in her room. That made everything difficult because I was the only white employee in the building at the time and of course I was the nurse from the other side of the building which meant I could hardly be at her beck and call all night. Management would let her do it though. Then of course the woman started complaining that people would walk past her room when passing ice etc. :angryfire What are they supposed to do?....they're not "allowed" in her room.
  5. by   jkaee
    What most caregivers of the elderly have to realize is that our residents are from a completely different time, and a lot of times they are living in their past. Staff cannot expect residents to be PC......it's crazy to even think that. As for the original poster stating that it is "pathetic" and people's "jaw dropped", you have to realize two things. First, you aren't going to change your residents opinions, this was the way they were raised, these are peoples beliefs whether they are right or wrong. You don't know what experiences they had, or what they were taught, or what they were raised to believe. Second, and this applies to our residents with Alzheimers, dementia, or other psych/OBS diagnoses, part of the disease process is a decline in restraint or inhibition....they become like children again, and say what they think no matter what. They have no concept of appropriate social behavior.......that process is gone for them.

    I have seen this before in my residents.....and it's usually directed to the people of color. It's not easy to deal with, and you have to abide by the residents wishes, but it certainly isn't "pathetic". You have to remember that these people were once whole, thriving, active men and women.....they can't help what they've become. You have to ignore it.....you can't change it, and you certainly can't let it get to you too much, otherwise you'll never be able to work. It's an unpleasant side effect of working LTC.

    Just my 2 cents....
  6. by   leslie :-D
    i agree too, that those residents with impaired cognition are not to be challenged. there is nothing that can be done about what they say and it cannot be taken personally. with that said, i have set firm limits with those residents that are alert and oriented and do expect them to mind their p's & q's. i am a white woman sometimes it's the staff of darker color that have to calm me down when a resident gets racist. but the stark reality is that as nurses, we have to put up with different types of abuse.
  7. by   FROGGYLEGS
    I understand that our elderly are from a different era and therefore have a different value system. I was at first shocked by it...not because I don't believe discrimination occurs, but because I'd never seen it so blatantly displayed. In the few instances that this was displayed toward me personally, it didn't really bother me. I know for a fact that I've been called worse by someone else. The staff I've worked with have all seem to take the same attitude toward it.

    The biggest problem with it to me is that when patients start dictating who can and can not enter their rooms. I thinks it is best to let them have their way with that to a certain extent, but when it gets to where hardly anyone is allowed their care is affected. The lady I referenced to in my previous post was AAOx3 / It bothered me the most that she had the nerve to complain about the CNAs after she banned them.
  8. by   Michael_Keithly
    One time I had an aide come up to me and make a racial comment. I am white, so is she. But, what she didn't know is that my fiance is a black woman. She said something about "all these N*GG*R *****'s do is get pregnant!" Boy was she in for a rude awakening when my fiance, who works upstairs came down to tell me she was going home!
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I realize that the elderly are from another time, but there is no excuse for the verbal abuse from the alert and oriented. Management should step in and put a stop to it, instead of letting it flow. That's like saying 'it's perfectly ok for you to degrade me'.
  10. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from FROGGYLEGS
    I understand that our elderly are from a different era and therefore have a different value system. I was at first shocked by it...not because I don't believe discrimination occurs, but because I'd never seen it so blatantly displayed. In the few instances that this was displayed toward me personally, it didn't really bother me. I know for a fact that I've been called worse by someone else. The staff I've worked with have all seem to take the same attitude toward it.

    The biggest problem with it to me is that when patients start dictating who can and can not enter their rooms. I thinks it is best to let them have their way with that to a certain extent, but when it gets to where hardly anyone is allowed their care is affected. The lady I referenced to in my previous post was AAOx3 / It bothered me the most that she had the nerve to complain about the CNAs after she banned them.
    well froggy, (love the name), for those pts. that are A&O, 99% of the cna's are black....if they refuse care then that's too bad, until the pts. come around. the same goes for the demented pts. sometimes the pts. think it's because someone's black but it ends up being either a communication barrier or not the right fit of personality. for those 'difficult' pts., i have had to frequently swap pt. assignments for one of the cna's that everyone seems to love, and like i said, they're pretty much all black. but there are some people that have that gift of getting along with everyone. i keep on coming back to this one pt. that was just outright nasty and racist. i ran the problem by the social worker then the DON and both agreed that i could pursue the family and tell them that dad was going to be smelly and grubby until he changed his attitude. i also told the son that if his father didn't stop being so offensive, he was going to have to find another place to go. the son came in that night and gave his father a firm talking-to. his father had a hx of getting pink-slipped from other facilities. when this pt. got acute heart and renal failure, he was a dnh so we treated him at our facility. that's when you could see his frailty, his vulnerability. he was actually (but temporarily) thankful to anyone and everyone, as he was very close to death. but he did bounce back, thanks to the skilled and superb nurses and cna's. and he's back to baseline, just as nasty as ever.
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I think that stems from having to deal with crap like that through all of life.
  12. by   casper1
    I do not feel elderly residents should be allowed to use racial slurs and insults.
    I worked Night shift as the only Nurse with 2 Black CNA's. Their are several elderly
    residents who like to use the N word. These are heavy patients who I can not turn
    and change alone with out risk on injury.

    I have told these residents that name calling in unacceptable. If a white resident called a black resident the N word it would not be allowed why should we allow the residents to insult hard working CNA's.

    I do not believe that the majority of the elderly are two cognitively impaired to know right from wrong. Would'nt you reprimand your 3 year old if you heard them use such language.
  13. by   VioletX
    I don't care that they are from a different time period, times have changed and if the person is AA&O then I do not have to and will not put up with being degraded. You can make any excuse you want about being from some other time or having a hard life, or thats what they grew up around. No matter how you try to explain it, it is still unacceptable.

    Sorry to rant, but this is a very touchy subject with me.
  14. by   leslie :-D
    i agree violet, for the alert and oriented only.

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