It’s time for lunch and Bracha*, the home attendant, prepared a nice meal of tuna salad with sliced pickles just the way her patient, Chaya* likes it. The corn soup was in the green bowl, Chaya’s favorite. “Come, Chaya. I made you such a nice lunch. Chaya raced to the table and, in a fury, hurled the corn soup at Bracha and dumped the plate of tuna into the garbage. In horror, Bracha watched as each slice of pickle she had so lovingly prepared flew across the kitchen. “You hate me! You’re trying to poison me!” Hurt? Probably. Sad? It was a beautiful lunch. Frustrated? Well, she is human… Angry? Of course not. Bracha is an Ezer Mizion home attendant and has absorbed the caring, compassionate and understanding ambience of the organization. She knew it was the Alzheimers that was making Chaya act this way.
“Come, Chaya,” she crooned with her arms around her patient. “Don’t cry. You know I love you. Just sit down for a few minutes and I’ll make you another lunch just the way you like it.”
“With pickle slices?”
“Of course, because I love you.”
It’s not easy being a home attendant for an elderly Alzheimers patient. Every hour another crisis. No appreciation. Only anger and tantrums. Easy to take it personally. But Bracha comes every day bringing with her smiles and hugs, spending hours giving and giving.
And then there is Esther* who spends her days caring for Hindy* who insists on going shopping to buy a new dress for her daughter, Nechama’s wedding. (Nechama is now a grandmother.)
“ I want a blue dress with rhinestones. We have to go now! The wedding is tomorrow and I don’t have a dress yet! “[i] she wails as she tries to unhook the bar attached to her bed.
“Esther races to the bed to be sure the bars are locked, all the while singing “Kol Sason v’kol…(a wedding song) Soon we’ll go shopping. Soon. Soon. We’ll buy you the prettiest dress in the store. And tomorrow you’ll dance with Nechama.” She takes hold of Hindy’s arms and dances in place with her, “Kol chosson v’kol…(a wedding song) ” Keeping Hindy safe is part of her job but bringing joy to this frail octogenarian is the Ezer Mizion specialty.
The holocaust survivor’s nightmares. The blind woman’s terrors. The impossible-to-fulfil demands of the senile. The home attendant smiles through all of it and tries her best to create sunshine in their lives Every day. All day. Always.
Is it any wonder that Ezer Mizion tries, in a small way, to give back and show appreciation to these 900 heroines who give their all? Each year a beautiful event is held where they are the celebrities for the night.. an incredible evening with delicious food, entertainment and a popular singer… just for them.