Cast Porcelain and mixed media
The phrase ‘last resort' generally refers to a final action
undertaken only when there is no other option. Here is has multiple meanings.
Generations have been marketed the promise of a life of recreation and relaxation in a retirement community or
town, as a reward for long years of service in the workplace. While an increasingly less appealing option for many, others continue to respond by relocating to far-flung destinations
in search of a ‘holiday’ lifestyle. Independent and assisted
living facilities are often promoted hyperbolically in terms
more often associated with vacation resorts.
This project reflects on the difficulties faced by an
elderly relative who moved from a large urban area
to a small southern town in search of that resort lifestyle.
But she found she was often lonely and homesick and
that her expectations were built on a myth.
This exacerbated a life-long struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in the form of hand washing which became nearly unbearable. This was less about cleanliness than the
need to suppress obsessive thoughts and calm persistent
and overwhelming anxieties by enacting repetitive tasks.
Later, she was diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), which may multiply the intensity of obsessive behaviors. Recent studies suggest there may be a link
between OCD and the risk for dementia.
Sometimes the skin on her hands became raw. Half used
bars of soap lined the edges of sinks and a spumescent,
slimy buildup formed in the basins. Every few months,
pipes had to be snaked to remove the soap scum build
up and permit water to flow freely through the drain.
When the mind couldn’t stop spinning,
hand washing was the last resort.