Tuesday 18 May 2021

Clothes in aged care

are a problem. They should not be a problem but they are.

We try to do the Senior Cat's laundry. There are very good reasons for this. 

The residence has an industrial style laundry. It is hard on clothes. Everything tends to get dumped in together. I am not sure how clean things really are. Buttons seems to come off at every wash.  S..., who is responsible for clothes, does her best but she is up against the rules and time and many other things.  

We knew it would be like this so Middle Cat and I made the decision that we - mostly me - would do the Senior Cat's washing ourselves. Still, things go missing.

He has some very good hand knitted socks. They fit him perfectly. My friend I.... made them for him. They keep disappearing. Yes, they are all labelled. We labelled everything. They still disappear. 

I know what happens. Things just get tossed into the big laundry baskets in the bathrooms. Unless the staff member concerned is alert to the fact that we do the Senior Cat's laundry his clothes seem to disappear. We have twice had to buy new singlets. Yesterday he was wearing a shirt belonging to someone else - despite the fact that he had at least three of his own hanging in his little wardrobe. I saw them there when I hung up another two - and two more pairs of clean trousers.

The Senior Cat doesn't care much about clothes and doesn't always recognise his own but I suspect at least some of the women do recognise their clothes.  They would still like to "look nice". 

I have seen this over and over again in other places as well. It reminds me of where I first started teaching. It was in an institution for profoundly intellectually disabled children. Most of them were wards of the state. Nobody seemed to care much about them. They lived on the premises. Their clothing was communal. When they were dressed the staff would just find something that "more or less" fitted. In summer all the girls wore the same shapeless green checked dresses with old fashioned linen buttons. The boys wore grey shorts and shirts.  In winter the staff added thicker cotton tops to these. The children were cold in winter, blue with cold. We teachers were not permitted to do anything about this. There was a sort of "they don't feel the cold" attitude that appalled me. 

The attitude in the residence is better than that but there is still a sort of hopelessness about it all. The Senior Cat can ask for his pullover or cardigan but there are people there who can't. One of the men was struggling to reach his cardigan yesterday. He could not have put it on. I stopped on my way to the Senior Cat and helped. He smiled and patted my hand - his way of saying "thank you". 

One of the staff told me, "We weren't going to bother this morning. They're all getting their first Covid jabs today."

Well I'm sorry if it inconveniences you but he was cold. His hands were far too cold, even in the air conditioning.

I am taking a clean pullover in for the Senior Cat this morning. I might just check on whether a couple of the others are wearing theirs too.  

Like everything else though it seems to me that this has to do with the amount the staff have to do - and how much they get paid to do it. 

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