Racism still living freely in elderly... - page 2

Have you witness a resident verbally discriminating a coworker? How pathetic that its still lives in the minds of our elderly.... Read More

  1. by   jyoung1950
    Maybe our LTC's should start having diversity, tolerance and acceptance activities every week for the residents.


    Quote from 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....
  2. by   jkaee
    Quote from LPN2Be2004
    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'.

    I absolutely agree....and in my post I was talking about the residents with dementia or other brain disorders. Alert and oriented residents are a completely different issue, and are not allowed to spew out racial comments at will.
  3. by   jkaee
    Quote from FROGGYLEGS

    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.

    This is a really tough situation that we nurses face in LTC....it is pushed to the families and residents before they are admitted that this is their home, we are here to make them as happy as possible, and practically everything they desire will happen. The plain truth is that it is still a facility.....facility food, facility care, facility services. No, your food isn't going to be cooked "just like home", and no, you can't do what you want when you want to, and we aren't at your beck and call. While severly impaired residents may have to have different CNA's do care on them because of extreme fear, anger or safety issues, I don't think the alert and oriented ones should have that same right. They still have an intact mind, and they should be able to realize that while they may have personal predjudices, it's not the facility's job to cater to their every whim. The resident that you mentioned sounds like a real doozy.....hopefully the managers realize this and don't discipline the staff based on her complaints.

    I hope that my original post did not lead anyone to believe that I condone racism in any form (I was tired when I wrote it and really had trouble thinking coherently :chuckle ). Nurses and CNA's new to LTC have to realize that this may happen with our demented residents, and a lot of times it's part of the disease process. I did NOT mean that you have to take that kind of abuse from alert and oriented residents.

    Just wanted to clarify!
  4. by   BabyChainus
    I have my own share of experiences with regards to racism at patient care setting. Unfortunately, I could also agree that most of them are from elderly patients specially the confused ones.

    However, I do not agree that we need to bite our tongue and basically be tight lipped when we encounter such situations. We are also humans and not some kind of super heroes who can take on anything specially emotional upsets. We handle lives in our hands and safety wise, a stressful environment is the least thing we need. Demoralization is the worse thing that can happen to any healthcare giver. And for the record, we are living on the 20th and not the 18th century.

    I am not suggesting an all out tirade and verbal attack on the patient as well. A diplomatic and polite matter of fact will work better. A patient also needs to understand that as a person in need of care, he or she needs to respect caregivers regardless of race. Clinical setting has been gradually evolving and race is not to be excluded from it. There are numerous races giving their services healthcare wise. I think this fact needs to be explained to patients.

    The saying that an "old dog cannot be taught new tricks" is a fallacy. Life is a learning process by itself. I have worked in a clinical setting with a "Zero Tolerance Policy" with respect to abuse and disrespect to healthcare givers. And so far, this policy is being respected by our elderly patients. As for my other patients, after talking to them, they have been very polite and sensitive with regards to their actions and words.

    Afterall, respect begets respect.

    NOTE: Confused patient is another matter though.:chuckle However, not all of the elderly patients are cognitively impaired.
    Last edit by BabyChainus on Apr 10, '04
  5. by   mandykal
    Well said BabyChainus!
  6. by   eak16
    I have been through this with my grandmother. It's disturbing, she thinks she is being progressive by noting that the "colored" waitress at her assisted living facility is "actually almost as good as the rest". I would be MORTIFIED if she said this to a caregiver. I agree, though that even though she is alert and oriented, it's not like she is going to change (we have had MANY talks about it). Its jsut an awful reminder of what the past was like I guess. I have had patients (usually elderly women) tell me that htey were "happy to have an American take care of them, unlike that (insert expletive) last shift". After a moment of shock, I just calmly say that that language is not appropriate in this facility, and that all hte employees here are on the same team.
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    I've seen a lot of this behavior in the elderly, especially toward blacks and Asians.......the men who fought in World War II tend to be the worst offenders, but in a way it's understandable since "they" were the enemy! No one likes it, but they did come from a different time and many of them never learned to accept non-whites as their equals.

    Then there are the more subtle forms of racism, like I experienced from this one lady who lived on my floor at the Mennonite facility where I worked some years back. Evidently I reminded her of a house servant she had employed many years before, and so I was Socorro when she could remember the name, and "that little Mexican nurse" when she couldn't. I guess I was lucky she didn't really need much care, just some housekeeping chores in her room at night and a fingerstick in the morning, but it was a bit disconcerting to me as a professional to be treated like the maid, just because I had brown skin and dark hair.

    If I'd hadn't been brought up in the post-war era, I might have been offended; as it was, this lady was quite demented, but otherwise such a sweetheart I couldn't be upset with her. She was merely a product of her time and station in life---what was I going to do, change her lifelong assumptions at age 92 when her mind was half gone and she had no concept of political correctness? I think not.

    Now, when you're talking about slurs from some Ku Klux wannabe who's A&O, I think it's appropriate to tell them politely but firmly that you are not there to be abused, and then let your manager take it from there if they don't stop. All I'm saying is, context DOES matter, and some of what our generation considers politically incorrect in the elderly comes from ignorance, not bigotry.

  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I'll never forget the Vietnam vet who was a resident at a nursing home i worked at. Well he'd managed to get into the kitchen, and started having a flaskback of the war. And the nurse sent Anita, a Filipino, to get him out! Oh what a great idea. Needless to say that didn't blow over well.
  9. by   NursesRmofun
    Oh gosh, I have a fav story the resolves around this topic....LOL. I once had a resident in nursing home from a famous family. This resident was about 90-something. I had learned a little more this family in a class I took later, ironically! But this resident loved to sing the "eni-mine-mo" song with the BAD ending. The older generations grew up with much more racism.
  10. by   DETTA
    i have worked in various ltc facilties in my 28yr nursing experience and what we must remember is, that when we get older, we can have a change of personality-due to disease etc, however many of our elderly patients may not have been particularly "nice" people in there youth, and this can remain so into their final years. sometimes this type of patient just need a gentle reminder-"civility and manners cost nothing." then smile!

    (nursing the elderly can be very rewarding, however a very demanding job.
    dealing with difficult patients now comes relatively easier compared to when i was a "younger and thought i new it all nurse!!!":chuckle)
  11. by   shel_wny
    I have bad memories of visiting my great-grandmother in her nursing home about 13 years ago. It smelled of urine and she flailed her arms in her bed trying to hit the nurse assistants and calling them the N-word. I was only 10 at the time but I was horribly embarassed.
    That was my first experience with long-term care.
    I just felt sorry for the nurses and wanted to leave ASAP.
    Is this just some sort of mean nasty thing to say because she didn't like her predicament or is it some sort of old-fashioned mindset that since has died?
    Who knows. Perhaps it's a bit of both. Either way it's sickening.

  12. by   Dixen81
    Quote from jyoung1950
    Maybe our LTC's should start having diversity, tolerance and acceptance activities every week for the residents.

    I think that is a FANTASTIC idea!
  13. by   CHATSDALE
    we have a nurse that whenever there is an altercation between white and black she will write on incidient report that the white person uses the N-word and mnagement believe her.....She has been a facility a long time and they believe anything and everything she puts down