This morning, at approximately 6:00 a.m., I fell while attempting to make my way to the bathroom.
The position I landed in – because of my Congestive Heart Failure – made it almost impossible to breathe.
After activating the emergency pendant I wore around my neck, I knew my top priority was to get my breathing panic under control. I systematically began a series of deep inhalations through my nose, then I would hold it for a second, and exhale through my mouth.
It was a strategy that immediately paid dividends. I began to slow down physiologically and emotionally.
Turns out, I had plenty of time to ponder my situation — not one of the personal care aides responded to the emergency beacon for almost a full half-hour.
In fact, if it wasn’t for an aide, starting her shift, who’d heard my screams, I might still be lying on the floor.
By the time someone did respond, I was enraged — but NOT at the aides or any of the staff — no, I was enraged at the owner.
The owner, one of the largest private real estate developers in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, despite the fact he is a well educated, savvy business man, seems to have a fatal flaw in his business acumen when it comes to the top-down management system he’s created for the assisted living facility where I reside. He doesn’t seem to “get it” or just doesn’t care about the very real problem of employee turnover in the three facilities he owns. If this was just a problem “on paper,” that would be one thing — but it’s not. By paying his Personal Care Aides (PCAs) substandard wages, he creates a revolving door system of confusion and resentment for the residents. 95-year-old residents don’t appreciate the legions of new caregivers that come and go, day after day. And the decision makers for the residents (usually a child or children) aren’t usually around the facility enough to notice the changes in employees.
(to be continued)