Senior Care
Login Register List Your Business Advertise   
Forum Health Care Options Relationships Grandparents Retirement Entertainment Money Contact Us


Love Letters
Written By : Angil Tarach-Ritchey 
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

I'm a registered nurse with a 30-year passion for senior care and advocacy.  For the last 8  years I have owned and directed Visiting Angels, a private duty homecare agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It is my honor and privilege to work with seniors and their families in my community.

My love of the elderly began when I started to work as an aide in a nursing home when I was 17.  There are many patients I still remember and think about 30 years later.

One of them was a lady--I'll call her "Ann"--who couldn't speak or do anything for herself.  She quietly lay in bed day after day.  Ann never had a visitor, so I knew nothing about her.

One evening our assignment was to clean our residents' closets and drawers.  While I was working in Ann's room, I found a box.  In it were no less than 30 letters and cards.  I sat on the floor and started to read them, tears falling from my eyes.  They were love letters from a husband to his wife.  Never had I known, or even heard about, such profound and amazing love.  This woman, lying there alone, seemingly unloved, had actually shared a fairy tale love, rare and amazing, with an adoring spouse.

It was through these letters that I got to know a patient who couldn't tell me anything about herself.  Learning about her life allowed me to have a special relationship with her.  As far as I knew, her deceased husband was all she had, and now I felt more responsibility to care for her, for him.

From time to time I would read his letters to her.  I don't know whether Ann could understand--or even hear--anything I said, but I felt that her spirit heard and understood.

My three-decade passion has been based on empathy.  Can you imagine being in Ann's shoes?  Can you understand what it must be like to have lived a fairy tale life with a best friend, experience a love like no other, only to lose that person and decline to the point where you're alone and unable to care for yourself?

Ann's is not just one story.  It's one of countless numbers of stories.  There are thousands of elders living in nursing homes, alone and unable to care for themselves.  What kind of care do they get when their healthcare workers know nothing about them, and don't even think about what their lives were like before they ended up, helpless, in a nursing home?

I know from my own experience that patients like Ann are not even talked to or treated with the compassion that is essential to providing good care.  Instead, they're just work to be done rather than care to be given.

It is up to us as a society to understand that there is a person and a life Behind the Old Face. 

  About Author
  More from Angil Tarach-Ritchey
Misunderstanding Home Care
Care Options : Caregiving

Popular Articles
Redefine Yourself for Retirement How to Avoid Ruining Retirement Living at Home With Dementia Misunderstanding Home Care
If you're like most folks, you have your doubts about retiring. On one hand you may be elated. On the other hand, you may be a bit frustrated because you have no idea what... Wealth seems to be everyone's dream; the ability to relax a little more, to not stress so much about finances and to enjoy the "good life." So often it is believed that wealth... For adult children the recognition of dementia can either be a slow process or it can be "WOW! Things have changed!" This coupled with honoring the loved ones wishes about staying at home can... There is so much misunderstanding about homecare that I want to help clarify the misunderstandings. Many refer to homecare as home health or just homecare without ever...

Read More>>>   Read More>>>   Read More>>>   Read More>>> allows the elderly to find local senior care services including home care agency, assisted living facility, retirement community, adult day care, hospice, elder law attorney, funeral homes, area agency on aging and more. Read senior care articles about medical alarms, senior lifestyle and care options.