It was a memory care facility for veterans and the administrator was quite proud of its outdoor garden area. It was landscaped to perfection and had a lovely high stone wall that surrounded it so that the veterans could take their sun and enjoy being outdoors. There was just one problem, however. And it was a big one.
Even though the majority of the veterans were slowly shuffling along, on walkers or otherwise barely able to get around unaided, they kept climbing over the wall and escaping whenever the care staff wasn’t looking. And, as might be expected, it was driving the administrator absolutely crazy.
She had tried everything she could think of, but it made no difference. Extra activities. Added staff. Security cameras. Somehow, reenergized, the old fellows kept scrambling up and over the walls. And they were off on their merry way before anyone was aware they were missing.
Finally, someone had an idea. No one believed it would work. The veteran’s cognitive abilities had declined too much. They wouldn’t care. They wouldn’t pay attention. “Let’s just try it,” the voice gently persisted. “It won’t cost anything. Let’s just see if it works.” Finally, shaking her head, the administrator relented. “Go ahead. Give it a try. Nothing else works.”
The voice of reason got busy and made several small signs which were then posted along the interior of the wall inside the garden. Each sign simply referenced an earlier time in the old vet’s lives when they obeyed orders with no questions asked. Each sign relied upon their honor to do as they were told. Each sign simply read, “Off Limits.”
From the moment the signs were posted, the administrator no longer had to worry about her residents scrambling over the wall and disappearing,
Sometimes, along the gray mile, the best solution is the simplest one. Sometimes, all you have to do is take a moment to listen to that still, small voice.