Monday, August 1, 2016

Volunteer visitor to senior citizens

Sometimes the above photo shows how I feel when I think of seniors stuck in a nursing or retirement home and who have no visitors.
I am posting this to give other bloggers an idea about a volunteer opportunity.
I am a senior citizen myself and have long heard about people living in retirement homes who have no visitors and are lonely. That sounds SAD beyond reflection to me.

For the year 2016 I decided to find a lonely person in one of those homes who I could visit and bring my version of sparkle and joy to. I have a nice collection of fun socks to wear, and bought these for one of the ladies I visit.


You can find a person to visit through your church, or through a volunteer center in your county or city. I signed up with a county program, was fingerprinted, interviewed, and sent to a retirement/memory care home. I think memory care is a upbeat way of saying Alzheimers or Dementia.
The neatest thing happened. The activities director introduced me to two ladies. One had a stroke and can't talk, and the other lady is active in all ways, and deals with Parkinsons disease successfully.
For the lady who had a stroke I bought some fun children's books and read them to her. Her favorite which she points to is about teddy bears and picnics. Since she visited Africa some years ago I bought a book about animals of Africa and she likes this book too.
The other gal and I do some volunteer work in the home's library, putting the books back on the shelves in the right places, and adding new books. We also sit and chat, I help her with her laptop, and we check on the two tomato and cucumber plants they let her grow. Last week she gave me a hug and said thank you for coming, you are a bright spot in my day. I said that she is a bright spot in my day too. Today I surprised her with the socks, and she said she had been wishing for some like this. She put them on and showed them to two people while I was visiting.
Let's spread the joy around.
"We can not all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love." Mother Theresa.


46 comments:

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That really is wonderful. I'm so proud of you. What a difference we can make when we look around and see what is needed in our community. The socks were a fun idea. I need to keep a look out for little things like that to share. Thanks for inspiring us my friend. Hugs, Diane

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a loving thing to do--and way to act out your faith! Blessing those people with companionship is a real mission field.

Pondside said...

Bless you - bless you!
My mother is in a care facility and it makes me very sad to see the ladies who have no visitors at all. I know, absolutely, what a difference you make to these two lives. I hope others are moved to join you in this volunteer work.

Debbie Harris said...

Hello Terra~ You have inspired me with your post and the love in your heart, thank you!
I used to work with Hospice but had to stop due to an inner ear/balance disorder. Because of my balance I am not able to work and care for others, but I have been thinking of finding a place for me so as to love on others through volunteer work.
I've been waiting on the Lord to direct me and I believe He has used you through your lovely post in doing so.
Bless you for showing love to others who are in need.

Enjoy your day in all it's glory~~

20 North Ora said...

What a wonderful and blessed way to share your time. I am sure you are the brightest spot in these precious ladies' lives. I agree that there are so many who have absolutely no visitors and it grieves my heart. I have a little 87 year old friend who is in a nursing home and I spend time with her and see all of the other dear souls who have no company at all.

You will definitely be blessed for this!!

Judy

Janneke said...

You make the difference for these ladies, very good of you. My mother of 94 years old is since two years in a nursing home so I know how lonely elderly people can be especially when they don't get visitors at all. I go twice a week to my mother and now I visit, talk and help other ladies too. It feels good when I enter the house and everybody is waving, laughing and want to talk with me.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a wonderful post!! Congrats to you for thinking so kindly of others who have no one to give them a bit of joy. As a Nurse, what I find harder to accept are people who are in their 90's and living alone in their own homes devoid of any socialization . And then thier families want them to go back to that lonely home alone. Sadly, the reason for this is money because heaven forbid they put their loved one in a nursing home and then not get any inheritance when that loved one would die.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Hugs,Debbie

Happyone said...

A great thing to do. I've done this before myself.

Linda said...

You are such an inspiration! I know it is often the little things that mean so much. My mother's name is Pauline and she is a stroke victim with limited speech. One time she made me to understand that she misses hearing her name. She learned to say, "Hello, my name is Pauline." Louis Dean tries to call her by name when she is here with us. Also we discovered she enjoys a glass of wine with us in the evening. She and I laughed one night last week in the gazebo when I told her we were BOTH too old to die young now so a glass of wine wasn't going to hurt either one of us!!

donna baker said...

Terra, you are great for doing that. What a way to help the forgotten and lonely.

Lin said...

Oh, that is so nice...for ALL of you!

I used to volunteer at the school when I stayed at home....now...sadly there is hardly any time for me to get things done. I hope to do this someday.

Quilty Nana said...

This is a wonderful and fun thing to do. Early in the summer, my DIL called and asked me to help my granddaughter. who is 11 years old, find a place to do some volunteer work. There is a nursing home right outside my back gate, so I went there and talked to the Activities Director. She agreed to let us come once or twice and see if it worked out. To make a long story short, we have spent two mornings a week this summer working with dementia and Alzheimer's patients. The director has asked me to stay on when granddaughter goes back to school. We have made games to take with us and had so much fun. We have also made some wonderful memories while bringing smiles to the faces of the people we work with. They light up when they see my gdaughter coming. I highly recommend it!! By the way, I'm a 79 year old senior, but you're never too old to have fun and think of others.

Betsy said...

I so enjoyed reading this. I have done the same with several people in nursing homes. Unfortunately the people I visited ar no longer with us. This winter I plan to find a new volunteer opportunity. I'm so glad to hear your story.
Blessings,
Betsy

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

When my mom was in a nursing home, my sisters and I took turns visiting her every day. I was surprised to see that very few received company and when they did, the visits were very short and usually involved getting their laundry. We met other ladies there and made a point of stopping in to chat with people who had been roommates of my mom. After my mom died we went back several time to see them again. What you are doing is wonderful. The greatest gift we can give anyone is our time and you will be blessed for all your kindnesses.

Tootsie said...

what a wonderful post! It is such a pleasure to read about someone doing selfless things for those who need it. I wish more people would step up. I have a special old man that I make sure to give extra attention to every chance I get. Our family has adopted this old poop and we love him like he's family now. Stubborn, cranky and all...lol
Thanks for the visit to my page girl! Was good to see you!

River said...

It's a wonderful idea and I'm glad there are people like you who do this. I'm pretty sure I couldn't. First, I'd need a car and second, I can barely talk to myself, let alone strangers.
Those socks are great!

Gattina said...

That's a very nice occupation ! Some people really need company !

Jennifer said...

Beautiful idea, Terra. You are such a good person. :)

Jane the Booklady said...

That is such an important and wonderful thing you are doing. I'm the organiser for a friendship club, it makes such a difference to our members and I hate to think of all the lonely people out there. I love the quotation from Mother Theresa, thank you for reminding me of it. Jane xx

Linda said...

This is such a lovely post! I love seniors, and have, ever since I was a little girl, as I connect with many of them! It saddens me to see that many of them in hospitals or homes have no family visiting them. Thank you so much for sharing this post! Your photos are lovely.

Tete said...

Bless your heart, Terra, for adding some life back into their hearts! I know many sit alone day after day. I cannot get out and do all of this, but I have a special older lady that I write to every week. She writes back and it makes her day. People don't write anymore, and she looks forward to the mail coming every day looking for a letter from her old neighborhood and home town. She was a 2nd grade teacher and never married, and her brother never wed, either. They decided, when she began failing from arthritis, that they would move to the bigger town where medical care was close and the pharmacies and grocery stores. They sold the old homested here and his house in northern Indiana and bought 2 new homes, side by side in this other city. Her brother was up here a couple of weeks ago and told me how much the letters mean to her and was grateful that we wrote to each other. It would be easier to just pick up the phone and call, but she is old school and the letters mean more to her. She can reread them over and over if she forgets what was said.
We have no living parents or grandparents now, so we just adopt those we come across who have no one. Its a win win for both of us. She has a wit and sense of humor and we look forward to mail as much, if not more than she does.

Summer said...

How nice of you to use your time in this way♥

summerdaisy.net

A Quiet Corner said...

Terra, what a wonderful gesture and how beyond beautiful that you give of yourself!!!...:)JP

Pamela M. Steiner said...

What a wonderful idea. Thank you for doing this for those who are so lonely and oftentimes depressed. What a marvelous ministry. May the Lord bless you for this kindness. I currently am a care-giver for my 93 yr. old mother in law (on the weekends), who has dementia. She isn't too bad yet, but it can be a very frustrating time. But I can't imagine leaving her in a nursing home among strangers. Thank you for being a friend to those who have no one.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Volunteering like this is a wonderful thing to do, Terra. There is a nursing home being built across the street from our church and already the church is getting a committee of volunteers together who will be liaisons to the nursing home and bring visitors, entertainment and to pray with those who wish it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - I quite agree ... once my mother had died, I carried on visiting a lady who has had a lot of challenges in her life ... and so see her quite often - I've moved a bit away and due to problems here I haven't been up recently ... but she is on my mind. I will see her this week almost certainly ...

Visiting helps enormously ... cheers Hilary

Inger said...

This really touched my heart, what a very good thing to get involved in.

Debbie said...

such a wonderful way to spend your time!!! rewarding for you and fulfilling for both of you!!!

Susan said...

Terra, that is so wonderful that you visit the ladies in the retirement home. I have worked in homes like that and, believe me, visits are very welcome and needed. It must be so sad to feel shut away from the world as you have known it and then forgotten. I visit an elderly aunt regularly and see so many sad faces among those men and women sitting in wheelchairs near the nurses station. My heart just about breaks. So how good you see those two ladies. Susan

Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh my goodness, you are amazing!! You know, God never forgets any any of kindness we do. And the socks!! She can look at them and be cheered up when you are not there. You are really making a difference in the best kind of way! The statue is beautiful and sorrowful.

Ginny Hartzler said...

P.S. Many people THINK how sad this is, but never DO anything. You put them to shame.

Denise inVA said...

How lovely, this is very inspiring. You are one of those earth angels and you are sowing seeds with this post. Thank you!

Sandra said...

i volunteered at a nursing home from 2006 through 2015 but have slacked off. they really love anything you take to show them or give them or just to talk or smile at them. i used animated animals that sing. walk down the hall and sit it down and squeeze its hand and they just love it. especially at Christmas time. well worth it for them and for the person that is visiting. i loved it.

Denise said...

Oh Terra-How perfect. I would also enjoy doing something like that.You have a sweet tender spirit and will be rewarded by Our Lord.Blessings-Denise

June said...

Bless you my dear for this post! I feel the same way about people living in the centers and no family or friends visit them. My own mother is dealing with the early stage of dementia and has asked my sisters and I to please put her in an assisted living center or nursing care because she doesn't want to live with us. She thinks she will have trouble around the noise and her routine being changed because we all have grandchildren that visit often and stay with us for days. I have such a hard time thinking of her in any kind of elderly care center. We do have some that are near where we live, but because I live in a town of 560 people, the closest is 30 miles away. It will be an easy drive for us all but I still worry in case emergency comes up.
I love that you wrote this to bring attention to those who are lonely and may have family that can't visit because of distance or just plain indifference.
hugs from here...

Laura said...

Well, it seems to me we have a lot in common. Several of the people I visit are living with Alzheimer's as well as other health issues. It opens the heart in a wonderful way to connect with people who are no longer living in their own homes. I'm so glad you are brightening peoples days and in turn you too feel your spirit lifted.

Friko said...

This is brilliant work!
If all of us who have the time and ability do something to make others’ lives more pleasant, what a wonderful world it could be! It would be so easy to perform a kindness, why aren’t there more kind people around?

Shelia said...

You are just precious for doing this and what a difference you're making in these little ladies lives. When I was a teenager, I went every Sunday afternoon with our pastor to a nursing home. I would play the piano for a church service. When I would start to play the little folks would start coming out. Made an impact on my life. Bless you,
Shelia ;)

Linda Myers said...

Yep! There's no way to describe how good it feels to do this kind of thing.

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

This is such a compassionate and thought provoking post. Looking back I am so regretful that I did not spend more time with my Grandparents when I was young and wrongly believed that there would always be time. Our Elders have so much to teach us. I love listening to the wealth of knowledge and stories that older people can share. x

HOOTIN ANNI said...

This is amazing what you do. You should be so proud...I know you are!!
I will have to check this opportunity out for myself. Thanks for the heads up.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it! We have a loved one in a nursing home and you're so right about how sad it is for some people in there. We try to visit/chat with others as often as possible when we visit our family member. our activity leaders are great as well - so nice of you to help!

Miss Merry said...

What a wonderful thing you are doing! A few years ago my father had to move into an assisted living room at a nearby VA hospital. Through a number of circumstances, I was there 4-5 days a week with him. Many of the residents thought I was an employee! The saddest times were holidays. They would have special meals and parties and sometimes we were the only family members there. The staff would go out of their way to be like family to the guys. I have not been back since his death, but maybe when some time passes, I can do so. I think it might be easier if you are not related to the residents.

diane b said...

You are a wonderful person to do this for the lonely ladies. When I was working I could only visit my mother on weekends but there was a lovely volunteer lady who visited her during the week and even accompanied her on shopping trips. I volunteer at the University of the Third Age tutoring seniors in photography.

Mrs.T said...

A wonderful idea! My dad has been in a nursing home since near the end of June. There are many volunteers who come in and do various things with the residents, but I don't know if any of them visit with residents one on one as you are doing. Good for you! What a difference you are making to those ladies!

Marieken Hoefnagel said...

What a kind thing to do. I love the quote in the end, and those socks rock. I would be showing them off too!