The Hotel D’Mentia

, , , , | Healthy | March 11, 2019

(This happens when I am just 17 years old. I get a summer job, one of my first jobs ever, in a retirement home serving coffee and tea in the public living room during the afternoons. This interaction happens with one of the residents. She has Alzheimer’s but I do not know that at the time, and it is one of my first times interacting with someone in that condition.)

Elderly Lady: *very politely* “May I inquire if it is possible for me to stay in the same room one more night?”

Me: *a bit confused, since she lives here* “Um, this is not a hotel, so your room is yours, of course.”

Elderly Lady: “No, I booked a room here and I would like to pay for one more night’s stay, please.”

Me: *still confused* “But this is a retirement home; you live here.”

Elderly Lady: *suddenly a bit shocked and looking around* “Oh, my gosh. I am so sorry; I am in the wrong place! I will go to my sister’s house and stay with her tonight. Thank you.”

(With that, she walks out of the building and leaves me very confused and worried! I realize that this lady does not seem to have a full grasp of the present or reality and I go to find a nurse. I am worried the lady will get lost or injured. The nurse laughs and knows who I am talking about. She says that the lady will come back eventually by herself, as usual. I continue with my tasks but am still worried. When I am almost done with my shift, who would walk in but the elderly lady from before! I immediately walk up to her.)

Elderly Lady: *very politely* “Excuse me. I cannot seem to locate my sister’s house. May I inquire if it is possible for me to stay in the same room one more night?”

Me: “Of course, madam. Your room is ready for you; it is the same room as usual. You are welcome to stay as long as you like.”

Elderly Lady: *enormous smile on her face* “Why, thank you, miss. Such good service. I always enjoy staying here.”

(With that, she happily went to her room. I was so relieved she managed to come back. There was no benefit or point in arguing with her and trying to make her understand her circumstances; it would only make her feel scared, confused, and miserable. I felt that that would just be mean.)

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