Monday, 8 July 2013

Thoughts on life – It's a wonderful life

Osprey on the nest
Regularly I volunteer in long-term care. I'm comfortable with it. One always wonders if the small things we do mean anything.
I helped people navigate their way to the dining room, where they were to listen to a group performing music. Small things.
I helped a table of four play Bingo. They insist on two cards but cannot keep up! Small things.
I try to dress up somewhat. I always get lots of compliments. The ladies love a bit of colour. Small things.
There are many residents, the women especially, who carefully choose an outfit, with earrings and lipstick to match, every day. They have dignity and self-respect. Big things.

Sunflower blooms
–to everything there is a season
All of the residents were settled into the room ready for the music to begin. Some were escorted to a chair, others guided while they moved their walkers, others remained in wheelchairs. There was laughter. There were chips and cheesies! And liquid refreshments! I left the room, as there were several aides and all was well. Time for 'friendly visits'.

I passed the mother and daughter, who had major surgery. Daughter had to skip her visits whilst recovering. She was in playing cards with her mother (a resident).
I helped another resident, and put a blanket on her bed. It was chilly, and I replaced her comforter. She is a delightful woman, younger than I.

We talked about one resident who paces the halls. His family member said it was such a pity, his
3 cats help in the garden
medical condition. I suggested that he still had something to teach us. I conveyed this to my friend. She said that she had to try to help people like this, as the other residents with dementia misunderstand social cues. They have no comprehension that this man has a debilitating illness, and she tries to help them remember the social niceties.

She advocates for her fellow residents. She didn't feel that she did enough, having been a resident there for 7 years, and in hospital prior to that for 12 years. I disagreed heartily.

I told her that I felt she was an excellent teacher and role model. She is younger than all but one of the residents. Her life limiting illness halted a career in the media. She has learned to make a life out of her reality. I told her she has lessons to teach us, too.


Red said...

Yes, the little things mean a lot. I visited an institution recently and i never want to go there. Residents looked totally lost.There was no community. Each resident was completely alone. I will do a post on this later.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I so disagree, Red. I wouldn't visit unless I thought they did their best.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You are doing so much good! And the younger lady with the life-changing illness certainly has something to teach us all. (As really does every one of the residents, when you stop to think about it, they are really role models for all the rest of us, even though many don't want to admit that.)I always enjoyed visiting such places, but I've never done it except when we had family and friends there.

Christine said...

Nice post Jenn, you are a special person to do what you do.