I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to interact with residents from our local nursing home. As I have previously stated I worked in this same facility as the Resource Development Coordinator back in 2000. At the time I didn't feel it was necessary to get involved with the residents. My job was to come up with projects that brought in money, which in turn benefited the residents. Although I was good at what I did, I now realize I could have done my job even better if I had stepped out of my office in the main hall and taken the time to get to know some of the people I was representing.
The facility is just across the street from the grocery store I frequent and I have made it a habit to stop by the activity room when I am in the vicinity just to say hello and see what the residents are up to. Activity is a perfect name for this area as everyone is doing something. There are very few residents just sitting around with blank stares on their faces. When they are sitting they are usually listening to peppy music, playing bingo, following an exercise instructor or participating in games that keep their minds active.
The activity director makes sure that anyone with a special skill is provided with the necessary tools to keep them active and interested in life. On my visit yesterday to spend a few minutes talking to a special friend who was busy crocheting I also noticed a lady, who has much more patience than I have, busily tackling a 250 piece puzzle. She has finished over 200 of them, some of which are framed and decorate the room. A near by computer sits waiting for anyone brave enough to learn a new skill with the help and encouragement of staff, while another man I know plugged in an electric guitar in preparation to serenade his eager audience. In the center of the room most of the remainder of the residents were busy exercising their limbs. In separate ends of the room there is a TV set and books for those interested in keeping up with the world outside of their walls.
Because I have taken the opportunity I have been given to get to know some of these wonderful people my opinion of them and what they have to offer has greatly changed. They are not just people who have given up on life and have been stuffed away in a facility waiting to die. They are real people with real voices and I am very grateful that I have been given a second chance to hear them speak and share what they have to say..