Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Harry and I finally go to town and see special friends again...we must find a better way for our elders

This week Harry and I went to see our friend, Polly, who has been a longtime volunteer with us, and is  a lover of animals and all that Apifera does. She has supported us in many ways and we love her. So when we heard she was facing the challenge of lung cancer, we were all pretty sad.

So Harry and I were so happy to finally see her again. And this time, we got to hug!! A momentous occasion. I have not hugged another person except Martyn for a year. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. Polly chose to leave her house temporarily to reside at a local care facility in a single suite so she can rest and focus on her body and what she is facing now. I thought her attitude was strong, realistic and in true Polly fashion she was looking at the positives of being at her rest home since it was helping her and she didn't have to think about shopping and such.

Cancer. Something is going to get us all in the end. But cancer...and the fight of the chemicals that usually goes with it is daunting. I told Polly we all loved her here and we would visit whenever she wants us too. Polly is also selling her art and sharing all proceeds with Apifera. Harry and I will go to the closing reception on May 26 at Savory Maine in Damariscotta. It's Harry's first gallery show and I'm pleased he will be getting his summer haircut on Saturday so he will look spiffy.

We walked over to Cove's Edge after visiting Polly-they are right across the road. My care manager was expecting me. We were limited on what we could do but we walked outside windows like the old days, and this time, we even could open the windows. Baby steps out of a pandemic. We are looking into puppy meetings soon. One of our lady friends was being picked up that day to go to her grandson's softball game. She had not seen any of them for over a year. She was so excited. I was so happy for her. Baby steps.

What I noticed was how quiet it was. Usually on a nice day the elders can sit in the garden, there are caretakers and spouses coming and going. But when I did look into windows at people-many I've seen for the last couple years-I felt the energy was low. I felt the worn out bodies of worn out souls that got worn out even more emotionally from the lock down.

Something has to be learned from this and perhaps used to reshape how we deal with such pandemics in elder homes. Shutting people away from family...in order to keep the spread of a disease-for a year and a half-is not an answer. I don't have the clear answer. And I certainly know the steps were taken for good reasons. But it should not be applauded as a role model for elder care in the country. I feel we need to have specific people in the various health departments and CDC that specifically deal with elders-maybe we do....but it can't be one size fits all either. Not all homes are the same and they aren't funded or staffed the same. It's complicated, I get it.

Imagine you have a year to live. In fact when you are 80 or older you don't go by years you go by days. And imagine each day, no family, no touch of loved ones, perhaps your spouse is kept from you....imagine  it. Is that living? We help people that are suffering at the end of life. We must find ways to help people in their final days also live a healthy emotional life. It is part of a life-the heart, head and mind. These care managers are stretched to the limit. Staffing is a real issue. At some places, the staff changes 100% every year. Many of the staff are holding down multiple jobs. I care deeply about Cove's Edge because most of the people that wind up their are born and bred Mainers and they are on Medicare and they do not have assets. Some have zero assets. Many end up with about $40 in their pockets after the care is paid for. That $40 is used for haircuts or a sweater or a gift for a child-but we all know $40 does not go far. So Cove's Edge is the top of my list for our animal healing work.