Hi everyone, welcome to The GRAND Life website. A website dedicated to our GRANDPAS and GRANDMAS who are enjoying their GRAND life, may it be in their own home or in a nursing home!
I have always dreamed of becoming a nurse since I was young but never did I imagine that it will be in a nursing home. My idea of being a nurse is someone who works in the hospital, wearing a white uniform and with that iconic nurse’s cap on my head.
When I went over to UK in 2003, I initially started working in a nursing home as a healthcare assistant a.k.a nursing assistant, while doing the Adaptation Programme (a program that overseas nurses are required to take in order to achieve registration as a nurse in the UK).
What a Big Culture Shock!
Coming from a country that does not really have nursing homes (or maybe there are a few but I’ve never been to one), it was a big culture shock for me. I grew up in a country that is big on having extended families. I have always believed that we are obliged to look after our parents and grandparents when they grow old. They have nowhere to go anyway… or so I thought.
I was excited to work at first. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It only took me a few days before I realized how challenging and at the same time rewarding it was to be looking after old people. It was a big learning curve on my part especially because I was a neonatal nurse back in my country before coming to work abroad. Such a big change….from new life to end of life!
Love Them or Hate Them
There were days when I really enjoyed working with old people as I get to practise speaking in English without any judgement from them about my accent or my wrong grammar. Thinking about that now, maybe they just didn’t care because they couldn’t hear me properly due to their hearing impairment LOL. It felt nice knowing that you are able to help them in any way possible.
On the other hand, there were days when I felt like giving up as it wasn’t just exhausting physically but also mentally and emotionally. Some of our residents have challenging behaviours: calling out, screaming, wandering and being physically aggressive among other things. It was hard to figure out the cause of why they were acting out. It was like looking after babies who couldn’t express what they need so they start crying out loud.
It really takes a lot of patience to do nursing in aged care. You have got to have a strong passion with what you do in order to efficiently fulfill your role. I see other staff getting frustrated and leave; some of them only last for a few months.
Understand to Care
I know it is hard to work in aged care – it’s not a joke. If people couldn’t understand what these old people are going through, they would not get the proper care that they deserve.
Losing my grandparents when I was just in primary, I didn’t really experience what it would have been like to have them around. Being with old people now, I treat them like my own grandparents. Some of them are still able to communicate and joke around with me. Some of them even hug me and are so excited to see me, almost as if I was their own granddaughter.
Learn to Love Them
Having worked in aged care for 17 years, I have seen a lot, experienced a lot and learnt a lot.
I want to share my experiences and learnings on this website so family members or caregivers looking after their elderly parents and grandparents may also learn and understand them better and hopefully be able to provide them with a good quality of life.
I will be talking mostly about the lives of elderly people in the nursing home (which I usually refer to as our residents), but some of the topics can also be applied to senior citizens living in their own homes.
I’m sure there are others out there who have more experience than me. If you ever want to share them, please feel free to leave a comment below or to any topics on this website so we can learn from each other.
All the best,
Founder of The GRAND Life