The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2011

Charlotte Crum, columnist: Time will come for a return home

By Charlotte Crum
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Recent events have left the residents of Joplin reeling, including the residents of the damaged nursing homes.

Most residents have been relocated to area homes but some have been moved as far away at Chanute, Kan., and Clinton, Mo. It’s been a challenge keeping up with the location of the residents. I have been impressed with the staff of the facilities that have taken in the displaced residents. The nursing homes in the area have done the absolute best they can and deserve kudos for their hard work. 

It’s difficult, though, for the residents to get used to their new homes. They are adjusting to new people, new surroundings, new menus, and new rules. Some have lost all their possessions, and many didn’t have much to begin with. Just like everyone else in the path of the tornado these residents are starting over. Yes, they still have a roof over their heads and food to eat every day, but they also have new roommates and new buildings to navigate. I’ve heard it said recently that nursing home residents have it easy but that isn’t the case. Even the residents who weren’t moved are adjusting to the new residents and staff in the building. It can be very confusing, since room assignments can change often as people come and go from the facilities. Of course things are already beginning to level out and the confusion will lessen. 

Rebuilding is in full force here in Joplin and that also goes for residents who have been moved around in nursing homes. Many residents of nursing homes will be able to move back to Joplin as their facilities are rebuilt and repaired. Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz says “There’s no place like home” and I can’t wait until I see these residents and get to say welcome home.

Charlotte Crum is the ombudsman coordinator at the Area Agency on Aging.