People say the darnedest things!

So, I’m remodeling my kitchen and having a conversation with the contractor who will be installing my new countertops. When the conversation turns to what I do for work, (advocate on behalf of the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities and their residents), this is what I get:
With a scrunched up face and obvious half-step back, “Oh, yeah, I hope I never need a nursing home! I hope I just die in my sleep.”
I want to reply, “Um, well I hope you are struck by lightning on the way home; did you NOT just hear what I do for a living?”
Taking a deep breath and regaining my composure, instead I say, “Gee, that’s too bad you feel that way. When’s the last time you’ve been in a nursing home?”
Not giving him the opportunity to respond, I continued, “You know, most people didn’t think they’d ever need a nursing home either but the fact is they do. As an advocate, I work to make sure my members have the tools they need to do the best job. Like you, they need the right materials, the right employees, proper financial support, etc. It might surprise you to know that our homes generate one of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the country. I’d rather live in a Maine nursing home than some other states that shall remain nameless. Just saying…”
My diatribe was in fact a little longer but you get the gist. I could have gotten really angry and elected to take my business elsewhere, but the fact is, his gut reaction is fairly typical. He apologized if he’d offended me, and I acknowledged rather smugly that he didn’t know any better. I can’t say for sure if I enlightened him but I’d like to think so. I know it can be insulting when people who have no experience, understanding or compassion, judge what you do. While it’s tempting to ask you about the dumbest, insensitive thing about long term care someone has ever said to you, I’d rather know what’s the kindest thing you’ve heard?
With a dramatic eye roll,

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2 Responses to People say the darnedest things!

  1. When I worked at Sandy River Health System:
    “You’re doing God’s work!” with a nice little pat-pat-pat on my arm.

  2. Cindy Scott says:

    Recently received correspondence from a family member who lives out of state and had made her first visit to our facility. She wanted me to know how much she loved our facility and the staff. She said her husband had told her how wonderful South Portland Nursing home was, and now she knows what he means! She states her relative’s room was comfortable and clean and that the resident was very content and happy here. She says,”I love the staff! They are so friendly, kind and considerate of me as a guest, as well as to(her relative). I love the way they banter and joke with her and I know she loves it too.” My husband and his sister were both stressed trying to find a good home for their mom and they found the best place she could be for sure! Whoever is responsible for the care of the faciltiy, the caring culture, and the hiring of staff needs to be commended.

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