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Not a Good Fit

Gwen and Don Kingman have been married for 47 years. Don has dementia, which is getting progressively worse, along with other health problems, including high blood pressure. Gwen has been providing care for him at home and wants him to remain at home, but she has been experiencing some problems with her knees, which make walking difficult. The time has come for them to get some outside help.

Aisha is a Somali immigrant and a certified nursing assistant, who provides care for several people in Gwen and Don’s area, and her agency has sent her to them. In addition to her uniform, Aisha chooses to wear a hijab as part of her religion.

When Aisha first arrives at the Kingmans’, she is warmly welcomed by Gwen, but Don screams racial slurs and demands she leave the house. Gwen needs to go to her own doctor’s appointment and needs Aisha to stay. Aisha has worked with patients like Don in the past and knows that his disease is causing his outbursts. Aisha assures Gwen that things will be fine and to go to her appointment.

Aisha starts her time with Don by introducing herself and talking about what she will be doing. The whole time Don keeps telling her to get out and screaming that she is dangerous. When she suggests he take a nap or watch TV, he tells her that he won’t let her out of his sight. His agitation increases, and by the time Gwen gets home, he is physically ill. Both Gwen and Aisha realize that her work with Don will not help him or Gwen, and Aisha suggests they request another aide.

Though the comments Don made were not easy for Aisha to hear, she knows that dementia causes clients to behave aggressively at times, and she hopes that Gwen and Don can find an aide that will be a better fit for them.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners