The repairs on the Mansion Assisted Care facility continue, but it became apparent yesterday that it will take at least two more weeks before the resident who were evacuated can all return. The new issue is state-mandated tests to make sure that any mold arising from the water damage is gone.
The tests for that take at least a week to take and measure. They will interrupt the work needed to ready all of the rooms.
The residents wing has been sealed off – masks only – until this work is completed. There is no evidence of any serious mold levels in the building, but the tests are to make sure. The regulators just seem to want more and more.
The rest of the repair work is progressing rapidly, but this new delay – the new target date for the Mansion to get back to normal is February 1, just about 14 days away. This could have a devastating impact on the residents and the staff. It will also put great pressure on the families who are temporarily caring for their mothers and sisters and sons.
I feel this is a significant challenge for me and for the work we are doing to help the residents during this very difficult period. They are very unhappy at the different places they are staying while this work goes on.
This is an equally difficult time for the families who are suddenly having to care for them, for the Mansion staff, whose work has been disrupted, and above all, for the residents themselves, some of who are clearly depressed and disoriented.
The Danforth Adult Care Center is a perfectly good place, but it’s not the Mansion, the residents are eager to get home and struggling to keep themselves occupied. The staff is also struggling to keep their spirits up, and to keep them engaged.
The handful of residents still in residence at the Mansion are also struggling with disrupted routines, boredom and anxiety. They need attention also, the staff is stretched thin trying to care for their scattered charges. This is painful stuff for caregivers, as many of you know.
We have moved aggressively to try to help the residents. Daily visits, puzzles DVD’s, flowers, dog therapy, photo books, paper crafts. They have been successful.
I think the task for me – and hopefully, with your help – is to get creative and step up this level of support. This is the critical time. The work is progressing, it will all get done, the residents will get back, but I think we have to think of some new ways to help them.
I see a lot of depression among the displaced residents, and it could deepen.
I have some ideas. One is daily readings, the residents love to be read too. Another is a version of a tea party – daily gatherings of healthy snacks and tea to break up the day, talk about their frustrations and fears, give them a chance to see Red and Bud, perhaps do some readings or puzzles together.
I think more flowers will help – they love the color the flowers bring to their rooms. We got a DVD player and are supplying movies. I think it might be useful to organize some small outings – perhaps lunches out of the building, or some rides outside of their facility.
Seeing different things other than bare walls will help.
This will cost some money, I raised more than $1,000 a couple of weeks ago, and I have about $600 left, but I think I will need more to do some of these things. I like the tea party idea and the idea to take the out on some short outings, just so they can get outside and see some of the outside world.
Flowers and some carefully chosen dolls and stuffed animals can also help, they keep the residents company and trigger their nurturing instincts.
If you can help – small amounts are as appreciated as large ones.
These next weeks are the hump we need to get over, I think. I am sure we can get to the other side, the staff is committed to helping the residents get through this. But I’d like to help the staff as well, they are drained and stressed by this turmoil and change, and by the helplessness they feel. They could use some help as well.
None of these ideas are expensive, but they will cost some money.
If you can or wish to help, it would be welcome. You can contribute via Paypal, email@example.com. You can contribute by check: Jon Katz, Mansion Fund, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.
Thanks, hope is my own faith, and courage for me is the ability to persevere and hope and find joy in the face of challenge. I will persevere, and the residents need help, now more than ever.
I am grateful for your support.