I am one of the lucky ones. I like what I do and I enjoy my work very much. The counsellors who work with me say the same thing and while we do deal with much sadness, we always try and find the positive in our daily work. This is one such story.
Mark is a 90 plus year old gentleman who was a very accomplished executive. We met Mark recently; he was living on a secure memory floor in a retirement residence. His history of how things came to be, are still unknown to us; but what we do know was that he had not been managing well in the community and had been subsequently placed there by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. The referral came to us from his trust officer who recently became involved when Mark’s paperwork and their appointment as his Attorney for Property became known. Our counsellor met with Mark who was withdrawn, quiet and distrustful. She also met with the resident care team to understand his needs and status. He had severe memory issues but was relatively well physically. His room was stark without any personal belongings. We were told that his condo had just been sold and that a moving company was going to clear out the unit in the next few weeks.
Our past experience told us that we needed to get to the unit quickly and identify and choose some personal items, such as photographs, family pictures, artwork and furniture that could decorate his new setting. We know that having familiar items around us can assist with memory recall and comfort and we felt that this would be important for Mark. Fast forward to this past week when my colleague went to visit him and found him in his room sitting in his favorite leather chair with a huge smile on his face. He invited her to sit down and have a cup of tea with him.
Mark was alone yet he wasn’t. He had the foresight to assign an attorney for property who was a pro active advisor. His attorney wanted to ensure his client was managing well and as such we were invited to make a difference in his life, which provided great satisfaction for all of us. This small step is just the beginning in getting to know Mark and working together to ensure he is living as well as he can with the appropriate resources and supports available to him.