I have heard many heartwarming nursing home stories about staff doing special things for residents. But one of them stands out.
A resident named Ed came here many years ago. Initially, he was unhappy or possibly sad and most mornings he sat in his doorway in tears. The aides chatted with him and tried to raise his mood. Sometimes they succeeded but unfortunately, many times they did not. After a few months Ed was moved to another unit. When I asked about him, I was told that he was doing much better. I felt relieved that he finally felt more comfortable in his surroundings.
Eventually Ed moved back over on this unit. Since he liked television, particularly sports, he kept himself busy some of the time with that. But many afternoons and evenings he just wanted conversation with another human being. Two particular afternoon shift aides said when they had a few minutes they took the time to listen to Ed's stories. Apparently, he really liked to talk to them. He talked about his beautiful, deceased wife and told them stories about his life.
One day the two afternoon shift aides told me that during a chat with Ed he expressed the desire to have an all black shirt and a Western-style bolo tie. I asked if he said why he wanted this particular type of apparel. But if there was a special reason why he wanted it, he either did not tell them or they did not share it with me.
When Christmas time came around that year, those two aides gave Ed an all black shirt and bolo tie. They told me he was surprised and pleased that they had given him the gift. They hung them in a particular place in his closet where he knew they would be.
After they told me this story, and while Ed was still alive, I asked them if they thought they should put a note in his chart saying that Ed wanted to be buried in that shirt and tie. But they did not want to do that. They thought Ed just felt better with an all black shirt and tie in his closet, and that is why they got them for him.