Issue 2.18 – When Things Don’t Make Sense

It had been three days since Deanna arrived at the Manor. She had set herself up comfortably in the guest suite, picking up a few toiletries and personal items from the shop at the end of the block, and was grateful she could use the on-site laundry to clean her clothes. After all, she had only packed a few full outfits, as she was not sure how long she would be with her mother at the hospital. Millie’s state had not improved. At this point, the prognosis was less than desirable, and Deanna was being faced with tough decisions daily. As she sat at the table trying to get some lunch into her, she felt overwhelmed by everything before her right now. She was going to have to call work today and request more time off.

As she gazed out the window at the courtyard, an older couple approached her table whispering to one another. “You ask,” the lady muttered under her breath as she nudged the man in the ribs. The man opened his mouth to speak, but hesitated. The lady rolled her eyes and spoke. “You must be Millie’s daughter, Deanna. We’re so sorry to hear about your mother.” Deanna was getting used to the ongoing small talk about her mom. Still, she entertained inquiring residents, though remaining constantly pleasant was getting taxing. “Yes, I’m Millie’s daughter. Nice to meet you. She’s had a stroke and is still in the hospital and not getting any better I’m afraid,” Deanna said this all in a rehearsed sing-song kind of way. “Yes, yes,” the lady continued on nonchalantly in an almost hurried tone. “Well, we hate to be of bother, but we need to talk to you about something…something rather important.” Deanna was intrigued. It was actually nice being approached with something different than the usual status update requests.

“Well, you see, Andrew and I are heading to Saskatchewan tomorrow for a mini-vacation to see our new great grandson. We have plants…really nice ones…and our grandson, Victor, had arranged to watch everything for us while we’re away. He’s going to install some blinds and shelving for us as well. But the problem is…,” the lady paused uncomfortably. “Well, we had the guest suite booked for him starting tomorrow…and management told us that you are in there right now due to your…ah…er…situation….and well, we have to kindly request that you find somewhere else to go because we did book it a long time ago and arrangements have been made.”

Deanna sat there slack jawed. Though she understood the situation, the audacity to just approach her the way they did, showing no concern whatsoever for her situation, felt like a kick in the gut. She felt tears welling up from behind her eyes. Her face felt flushed. Her head started spinning. In frustration, she blurted out, “It’s fine. I’ll gather my things and be out of your way…right away. I wouldn’t want to inconvenience your grandson-turned-handy-man or your stupid fancy high needs plants.” Deanna rose up from the table and didn’t even make eye contact. “Well…I…I…,” she heard the lady exclaiming from behind her, but she didn’t care to give them one more moment of her attention.
Back at her room, Deanna packed the few things she had into the small duffle bag she had brought with her. There was a soft knock at the door. “Deanna, are you there?,” she heard Hazel ask.

She opened the door to find a worried looking Hazel with a cup of tea. “I heard what happened.” Deanna just sighed. “Yes, I wouldn’t want to continue being a ‘room hogger’ or anything like that,” Deanna said sarcastically. Hazel nodded understandingly. “It’s a silly policy they have here. I don’t understand why guests can’t just stay in their family member’s place if they are away.” Deanna sighed. “Right? I could see if this was a care facility, but it’s not. My mom’s suite is her home. It’s no different than if she was living in a regular apartment and I came to house sit. It’s not like I’m taking up a care space, or bed, or anything. I’m paying for my meals, I’m paying to do my own laundry. I’m covering my costs being here. I even have permission to be here. No one said anything about this room being booked.”

“The policy needs to be changed,” Hazel stated affirmatively. “Let’s go talk to Debra about it. And if she disagrees, then we’ll set you up on our couch for now. The policy doesn’t say that you can’t stay with someone when the suite is occupied by the resident,” Hazel winked. “You’re not going anywhere. I refuse!” Deanna knew Hazel meant it.

“Can you just get policy like that changed right away? Don’t you have to go through some kind of resident council process?,” Deanna asked skeptically. “Yes. But this might be a special circumstance. At least let me take it up with Debra.” And with that, Hazel was off down the hall towards Debra’s office.

We were told last week that the Manor’s guest policy was very odd and not at all common in independent or supportive living communities. This was great feedback and inspired this week’s issue.

Policies are very important and put in place by management, usually for very good reason and with a lot of thought and history behind them. They are to be respected, but admittedly, there are circumstances where policies might need to be reviewed.

In the case of Charlie and Hazel’s community, the guest policy could have been put in place because Debra came from a different industry or even a higher level of care community, where things would be very different than in a housing environment. Some good discussion can come out of this.

How does your community deal with concerns regarding policies residents disagree with? We’d love both resident and operator opinions and ideas. Feel free to share your thoughts below.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s