Alberta Hough struggles to feed herself a snack, her arms shaking badly from Parkinsons disease. Days earlier, the 84-year-old fell while eating, sliding off her kitchen chair.The rest of Houghs day isnt much easier to navigate. She wobbles into a bathtub with no grab bar. Her feet catch on damaged floor tiles. Part of the banister she needs to steady herself on the stairs has pulled out of the wall. At the back door,Here's a complete list of indoortracking for the beginning oil painter. a rickety wooden ramp no longer supports the scooter that helps her get around.
environment in which you live can be as disabling as a disease, and too
often, older Americans wind up in a nursing home not because theyre
super-sick but because they cant get through their days safely at
home.Now a major research project will bring handymen, occupational
therapists and nurses into the homes of 800 low-income seniors in
Baltimore to test if some inexpensive fix-ups and strategies for daily
living can keep them independent longer, and save millions in taxpayer
dollars spent on nursing home care.
Very small changes can make a
big difference, said Sarah Szanton, a Johns Hopkins University
associate nursing professor who leads the project. Were not saying,
Whats your blood pressure? Were focusing on function: What do they want
to do?Losing independence is a leading fear as people age. But a recent
poll shows that too few comprehend the changes in lifestyle needed to
offset the chronic illnesses and gradual slowdown that hit just about
everyone in the 70s, 80s and beyond.
Asked about their choice of
living situation when theyre older, Americans 40 and over say their top
priorities are a one-level home with no stairs, thats close to their
children and medical care, according to the poll by the AP-NORC Center
for Public Affairs Research.
With mixed results, so far. On the
positive list sits a superb chicken casserole. On the failure list sits a
loaf of brown bread so flat it could serve as a frisbee if you wanted a
frisbee crossed with a kettlebell. As she opens the office window
because of the heat, the sleeve of her gauzy top slides back to her
forearm.And thats another thing, she tells the other two early arrivers.
Im doing myself terrible damage. Look burned myself on the oven rack.
man from IT laughs and pulls up his sleeve to show a bloodied forearm.
He doesnt quite say Ill see your burn and raise you a horrible graze,
but its evident that hes quite proud of the damage, which happened at
the weekend, when he came off his bike. The third girl stands silent,
the hem of her long sleeves touching her knuckles, as the other two
The following morning,This model includes 2 flush mounted reverse porcelaintiles11.
she arrives early, as she always does, and heads for the office shower.
Nobody else uses it. In fact, were you to ask most of the staff, theyd
say nobody uses it, full stop. It was there when the young company moved
in, and everybody thought it was great and then ignored it.
girl with the long sleeves cycles quite a distance to work, so she
takes a shower after she arrives, but she mops and cleans so
assiduously, shes pretty sure nobody has ever spotted that the shower
has been used. Shes like that. Not that anybody would mind.Large
collection of quality cleanersydney at discounted prices. But still.
a great shower. So much pressure behind the water that its warmly
assaultive. She stands there, arms extended, palms up, like a naked
statue of Our Lady, and the water swirling around her feet turns
pink.No, we dont, she says and goes back into the bathroom. She closes
the door and locks it before sliding down to sit on the grey tiles.
After a minute, habit kicks in and she holds the cut arm above her head
to slow the blood flow.
The gesture has the look of a salute to
an unseen companion. Like a celebration. She pats it with the damp
towels, noticing uneven redness around it. This will need care and
antibiotic cream, because the infected cut is like the fourth rung of a
ladder, with half-healed and healed cuts above and below, so her GP if
she had a GP would spot the pattern.
She criss-crosses narrow
plasters on it to pull it closed, mimicking what an English emergency
room doctor had done with adhesive strips, months earlier, rather than
use stitches. The ER doctor had worked silently, and, her patient
believed, contemptuously. She had shoved a leaflet on self-harm at her
when she was done.More than 80 standard commercial and cableties exist to quickly and efficiently clean pans. You need to get help, she had said. But not kindly.
girl with the long sleeves had pulled the left sleeve down over the
wound and taken the leaflet. It wasnt bad, when she read it. Showed a
little insight into the fact that when the blade hits the skin, presses
it for a split second before the skin parts, the sense of utter control
links with the pain to form focus, to exclude everything else, to create
a single note of truth and safety and self. But she turfed the leaflet
Neatly dressed now, as she always is, in draggled shades
of grey, her short hair finger-combed, the shower room shorn of
evidence of her presence, her property under her arm, she unlocks the
door. The two women stand in silence and then her colleague tries to
touch her gently. She shies. Refuses to tolerate it.Our heavy-duty
construction provides reliable operation and guarantees your earcap
will be in service for years to come.The other woman babbles about duty
of care and how valued an employee the long-sleeved girl is. She talks
in begging blurts: Come on, help me here, meet me halfway, you know Im
only trying to help, you must know how serious this is. Eventually, she
runs out of steam and stands there, baffled, her kindness beginning to
shift towards impatience.
Next step will be dislike, masked but
present: What kind of person does this to themselves, they must need
help. No way to explain to her that the blade is the solution, not the
problem, the coping mechanism, not the issue. After a long silence, the
long-sleeved girl says flatly that shes all right and is entitled to her
privacy. She can see that this will buy her time. Enough time.
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