Choose the Positive


Recently I read the following quotation. “Imitation is the highest compliment you can pay another person.”  Well today’s program is amount someone I want to imitate:  Susan Cook.  I want to imitate her attitude and the choices she makes,  but not her circumstances.  Susan is an inspiration to all who know her.  I met her 11 years ago because she was seated at my mother’s dining table in Thurston Woods, a nursing home.

Susan always has a smile, a positive attitude, and some inspiring thoughts to share.  She is an interested and interesting person—always with several worthwhile projects going.  She organizes efforts to care for troops in Iraq, arranges simple bouquets and delivers them to individual rooms at the nursing home, visits other residents who are going through an especially difficult time, raises money for the CROP walk,–and the list goes on and on.

Susan is in her late sixties.  She has MS, and came to live at the nursing home 16 years ago when she could no longer walk because of a brain aneurysm.  Susan is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a motorized wheel chair to go wherever she wants to go.  The last time I talked to her, she was spending all but 2 hours a day in bed. Yet she greets everyone with a smile and ends up blessing the visitor.

I want to be like Susan, and choose to be positive and do positive things no matter what challenging circumstances I encounter.

Susan has the following advice for those who would care for individuals in a nursing home or long-term bed care:

Susan says, “Music can soothe the soul and bring peace and joy.  There would be less agitation and yelling in nursing homes if each room had peaceful music playing most of the time instead of a blaring TV.  This could be accomplished over a PA system with an on/off switch in each room.  Or families could bring a CD player with a few CDs and request that the aides turn on the music instead of the TV– unless of course, the person wants to watch TV.

*Allow the person, whenever possible, to make his or her own decisions.  Well-meaning family and sometimes staff decide what the person needs without consulting the individual.  For example, when a lovely woman in her nineties complained about being cold, her niece “solved” the problem by moving her aunt to another room.  The aunt was not consulted.  She didn’t like the move, and her previous roommate grieved the loss of her friend.

*Remember that my room is my home.  Please do not come into my small home and tell me that I should take care of the clutter or start organizing or offer to organize my things.  I know where everything is.  I can reach what I want from my wheel chair, and I don’t want things moved.”

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