It has always been easier for me to deal with female clients then male. It should not matter -however- a few experiences with men with poor judgment have honed my voodoo instincts. Treating everyone alike has always been my way- providing the same level of care to the rich and poor, the mentally, emotionally and physically ill, those with HIV-AIDS and the common cold. It is important to me to uphold that credo, so it annoys me with my voodoo radar goes off and my guard goes way way up.
This is an embarrassing thing to have to admit, but for some reason men in their 90's absolutely love me. Most of them are very gentlemanly, but some, believe it or not, get a little overly physical. Usually its a hug they want, or a kiss, or some other seemingly benign request. Let me assure you it is not benign. It is really uncomfortable. If this was my own time and private clients, I am very vocal and somewhat chilly, but on the Government's dime, I find it hard. In my mind I am thinking about how I exacerbated the situation. It is not ny favourite ponderance.
The gentleman in question that prompted this post is 94. I am not really there for him, I am there for his wife. He all but physically stops me from going to her, trying to get me to sit and drink tea with him. She has been on a downward roll and says the things that my own Grama used to say to me. "Don't get old, my dear, and if you do, stop before 90".
Her husband has forgotten to remove her nitro patch, again. He does remember to give her medication at the right time, but clearly they are both in the last glimmerings of independance. His inability to see the purpose of my visit is indication enough of this. But its sad.
As I leave he is still trying to grab my arm and get my attention, and then as I am out and going down the stairs he smiles and says: I didnt brush my teeth yet or I would kiss you goodbye.
All the training in the world, all the boundaries you learn to keep in place and all the proactive solutions you can dream of do not make these moments any easier. For me, I find the best solution for these things is to send someone else. A man preferably. After all this man is in his own home, not in a hospital or care home. As judgement declines, he really believes he is being pleasant and appropriate.