Terry Gross and Martin Bayne on Fresh Air
thank you for the interview with martin bayne. i was moved to tears. in the simplest of words he made all of this life make sense.. what a remarkable wonderful man!
Name: jeanne keenan
Oh Terry; i am weeping. martin bayne’s story touched me so very deeply. this program was one of those “sit in the car and listen to the end” stories. in the late 1990s and early 2000s, my sister, jacki and i, experienced this. our parents had to move to assisted living when our mother’s alzheimer’s became too much for dad, who had been diagnosed with parkinson’s and later, with alzheimer’s/parkinson’s dementia. they lived together, then as she worsened, separately at the same facility. my sister and i often commented on how strange the nursing home “culture” appeared to us, and worried about the incredible changes our parents experienced after living in their own home for decades. even tho the nursing home/assisted living center was in our hometown, and even tho (some of) their friends on the “outside” came to visit. mr. bayne’s perspective on how death is not handled in these places rings true with respect to what my sister and i saw and heard in a very few brief comments our father made inadvertently. it seemed like the residents kept these issues inside the “fold,” and very very rarely shared their thoughts with us non-residents. His exquisite reflections, informed by his spiritual journey, provide additional perspective and meaning for us regarding the essay we prepared upon dad’s death, part of a service award nomination packet we prepared for the woman who was his aide. in the award ceremony, they read our essay. it let everyone acknowledge his death as well as her service. it’s the gift of significance, that mr. bayne was describing. i had never thought about this other function the essay/ the award ceremony could serve. until now. thank you so much. fresh air is just the best. how can i get a transcript of this interview? sincerely, gwynn henderson
Name: gwynn henderson
Susan Gray (SusanConwayGray) wrote:
I’m a first time listener and loved this interview! It was like listening to a beautiful flower unfold. Terry started with slow thoughtful questions for Mr. Bayne and his responses seemed to be get deeper and more stunning, until he discussed how compassion is the mindset he lives by and uses with those he lives with. This made my heart melt as I grapple with putting my older brother into a care center. He’s in his 50’s, developmentally disabled and bi-polar, and can no longer care for properly for himself. Plus he is in danger of harm from the larger outside community as he wanders like a wild man in the worst areas all hours of the day and night in the worst weather unproperly clothed. But I worry he will be “zombied out” by drugs and made to comply while he loses his freedom and he will run away. But this interview gave me great hope that he will find a good place filled with compassionate hearts to keep him safe but let him live his life. Thank you Terry for a terrific interview and Mr. Bayne for his profound insights into the human spirit.
Judith Wahl (Wahlbangers) wrote:
Thank you for this moving interview Mr. Bayne, and for your article and blog. I admire your “antidote” and your advocacy. We can all advocate for positive changes in healthcare and long-term care policies, but we cannot wait to take action… so my husband and I do what we can every day to improve the quality of life for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
We are the founders of Wahlbangers Drum Circle Organization, a Nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors through the joy and health benefits of recreational/therapeutic group drumming. We facilitate drum circles at many locations throughout California, and the residents love this activity! We provide drums which are accessible at all levels of ability, so within the drum circle everyone plays and everyone is equal. For at least an hour, the participants have their own identity within a social and communal setting. Please see www.wahlbangersdrumcircle.org for more information.
We are told time after time by Activities Directors that they would love to invite us to come every week, but they have nothing in their budget for our activity. We recently took a drum circle to an upscale assisted living facility, free of charge. The 25 residents in attendance had a wonderful time drumming, and many told us that they were delighted that they did not have to attend the other planned activity — making tissue paper flowers! The residents there pay an estimated $6,000 a month, and they are relegated to tissue paper flowers as an activity? They need a revolution! The “top-down management” never attends the drum circles. Our altruistic vision is that just once, one of the suits will attend a drum circle and see the joy and vibrancy in the participants’ faces – and just maybe find enough love and compassion to have his life forever changed.
Martin Jimenez (MartinJim) wrote:
As a geriatrician, I thought of myself as fairly knowledgeable about care facilities and the things that affect quality of life in them. I’ve taken care of many residents of ALFs. However, I found Terry Gross’s interview with Martin Bayne eye-opening. The psychic impact being witness to the decline and death of fellow residents was something I did not have a grasp of until I heard this interview. Thank you!
Jane Schultz (JaneCSchultz) wrote:
This is the first time I have ever been moved to comment. Thank you to Martin Bayne and Terry Gross for such an amazing exchange. I was so touched by Mr. Bayne, not just for what he revealed about life in an assisted living facility, but for revealing his own tenderness, kindness, and humanity. Mr. Bayne, you are amazing. I first listened to this interview in the car with my 9 year old. She and I sat in the driveway until the interview ended because we were both so engrossed. During dinner we listened again, with my 18 year old daughter present. We were all touched so deeply by the sentiments expressed by Mr. Bayne. The way Mr. Bayne connects with the people in his assisted living facility shows his own full involvement with life. Luckily, all the people he is in contact with benefit from this full involvement. What else are we here for except to fully live our lives as best as we can with compassion and tenderness? As his says, this compassion and tenderness must be directed toward ourselves as much as it is to others. I haven’t had a direct, felt experience of this to date, however I will now allow this into my life because I can see from his example how it is light years away from being selfish.
Sarah Campana (sarahcamp) wrote:
Thank you so much for the interview. Mr. Bayne does a remarkable service for his fellow residents and for the elderly in general. I am a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and I love my elderly patients. When I look at them I see who they were, they youthful pilot, the young farmer with big dreams. Mr. Bayne conveys this and I only wish there were more people who could be such a lovely and wonderful spokesperson and archivist of our lives. We will all be older one day…it is inevitable, we will also one day die. We are born dying and that is not sad, it is a fact and should not be considered something to fight againtst. I so agree with his note of not acknowledging the death of another resident. They should have some service, mention what have you to note their passing. When I worked in hospice as an RN, our social worker or chaplain set a time for a very brief, memorial; for lack of a better word to allow whomever wished to say words or just be present to acknowledge the persons life. Getting older is a privalge and it is denied to many. Again, Mr. Bayne, thank you for what you do. I wish you were not stricken so young, but am amazed at what you do. Love the older people, they have knowledge, wisdom and deserve respect.
Theresa Waldron (kennethsmom) wrote:
I work as a caregiver (CNA) in an assisted living facility. The people (rightly) complain about the lack of activities or that they are childish and not age-appropriate. (Coloring with crayons is considered “arts and crafts,” for example.) They also complain about the way they are treated by staff, who are condescending and patronizing, and who can be quite rude and disrespectful to residents. Residents often dislike the food at the facility as well, which resembles lowly cafeteria food. For this they pay thousands of dollars a month. I never, ever want to live in one of these places, although with what they pay me, I could never afford it anyway. I think families could visit more often, too, and that would help. But they feel guilty for putting the person there, and if they are demented, they don’t want to have to deal with the changes in the person. Dementia really is not dealt with, by residents, staff, or family. It’s the elephant in the room. It seems people either overreact to people with dementia, or ignore them. It would be better to acknowledge it is there and find new ways of dealing with the person. I’d like to see a concentrated effort made to treat these people with dignity as they live out the end of their lives.
robyn kochan (kindredpup) wrote:
Thank you for addressing this greatly misunderstood and often avoided issue. The regard we have for our elders in the US is tragic. Too many assisted living facilities are substandard places offering food that is not nutritional, activities that do not engage the mind, and rules and regulations for the convenience of staff and administration. Costs are exhorbitant and quality of “life” is poor. More than assisted “living,” many places are assisted “stagnation.” The concept of how we care for our aged (and those who are younger like Mr. Bayne but need assistance) needs to be dramatically revamped. Not only must we realize that just because someone is a particular age, it does not automatically mean they are incapable, but we must treat persons with true dignity and recognize the many talents and gifts they still have. The more we make them give up so we can “assist” them, the more we rob them of their dignity and starve them of life. Thank you for opening the door to shed some light on this sensitive subject that no one wants to talk about but must. Everyone should be required to make a surprise visit to an assisted living facility and have a meal there. They would probably leave running. What a disgrace for humanity.
Joe Montani (Tennen) wrote:
Wonderful interview; thank you, Mr. Bayne, and thank you, Terry. Hearing the quote from the Buddha Shakyamuni about “turning the stream of compassion within” must indeed have been powerful, but I believe that this hearing was preceded by deep practice on Mr. Bayne’s part, and Mr. Bayne was in a state of readiness to open naturally to its wisdom. It’s not usually just a matter of luck. But the members of Mr. Bayne’s community are truly fortunate to have such a Bodhisattva — a Comapassion-Being, a Wisdom-Being — in their midst, and as their friend. I, too, as a far-flung radio-listener in the desert, am fortunate hereby to be a part of his community as well. Again, thank you both, and thank you All.