Where’s Mary?


I recently spoke to a woman who has a friend in an assistant living.  Here is a story that was relayed to me about the assisted living….

At this assisted living, most seniors are of sound mind- yet, are unable to live independently to do some other disability.  When someone from the assisted living dies, the staff keep it a secret.  None of the seniors in the assisted living are told.  Perhaps for privacy reasons, or to not make them worry.  Of course the seniors figure it out- as they inquire to staff or another resident, “Where’s Mary?”

My first thought was to say- this is silly, that these seniors have lived their whole lives dealing with life and death and they aren’t children.  Surely, the staff can sit them down and tell them gently that Mary died…. maybe take a few minutes to recall some special things about her.  My thought was that the seniors are able to handle it- that they are stronger than we think.

When I asked my husband, he disagreed and said that staff should spare the residents heartache and that it was better for them to find out on their own.  He said their mind is probably already centered too much on their own mortality and that they don’t need to be reminded that people the only leave the facility by going to a nursing home or dying.

What do you you think?


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