I walked into a resident's room the other night to give them their medicine.
"Hi, Miss Jane. I've got some medicine for you," I said.
"Meet Miss Jones," she said. "The woman..." Pregnant pause. "...without a coat."
This is probably a location joke, but I nearly burst out laughing. You would have thought that she was missing a limb. I did try to help her look for it. And we notified Housekeeping to be on the lookout for it, too.
On the other hand, our resident's have already lost everything: Their homes, their independence, their health. A coat seems like a small thing. I'd just go buy a new one. To them, it's a metaphor for what their life has become: a series of small losses that have left them with nothing worth having.
We can make all the noise we want about making them feel needed and wanted and useful, but the bottom line is we can never replace what they had, however little it may have been to begin with. It sounded like melodrama, but she's really just in mourning.