7 November

Mansion Aide Month: Hollyanne

by Jon Katz

I know about 10 of the 13 Mansion aides, two or three of them work irregular hours or are out driving residents to doctors or are just quiet and shy, I might have seen them without knowing who they are.

At first, the aides were guarded around me, they strictly follow the HIPPA privacy rules and they don’t tell me anything about the resident’s health problems, not even when they die or are taking to the hospital.

The hardest part of volunteering for me is going to the rooms of one of the residents and finding them gone. I know they may not be coming back.

I usually hear about what happens to people who suddenly leave from the Mansion residents.

Hollyanne is a conscientious and thoughtful young woman, she knows the residents well and is always thinking about what they might need or how to help them.

In recent months, more and more aides have come to me with requests for things the residents might want or need – shoes, socks, underwear, comfort dolls, jackets, shirts. That is valuable because it’s the aides who have the closest and most intimate contact with the residents, and have the best idea of the things they need.

None of the aides ask for things easily, but they care for the residents and pay close attention to them. Many  buy things for them out of their own pockets, no one ever knows about it. I have tried to relieve that practice.

They do many difficult tasks, work others might fight hard to do – helping the residents go to the bathroom, cleaning them up if they have accidents, dressing and undressing them if they need help, assisting them with showers and baths, talking to them if they are sad and lonely, refereeing  squabbles.

The are all different, but they are all about love, the most precious gift for the residents, who often feel quite alone.

In addition to the gift cards and special engraved pens, I’m planning to give each of the aides a cookie/holiday box over the next month. I’m just hoping to give them some of the recognition they deserve, I have come to know and love many of these remarkable young women and consider them family.

Thanks for helping me honor Hollyanne and the other aides at the Mansion.

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