Friday, June 18, 2010

Working is Hard!

I've been away from my blog and my sewing for too long!  Between the housework and the job, I've been a bit drained both physically and, surprisingly to me, emotionally.  While my job is to recruit volunteers, I've spent most of the week going through the facility's units meeting people, joining in activities, and pushing wheelchairs in order to get to know everyone and their needs.

The emotional impact of dealing with residents has been enormous. Nursing homes have changed!  There is a push to have people "age in place" preferably in their home.   The level of care needed by the vast majority of the residents in nursing homes today is exceptionally high.  Most have moved beyond the ability to have more than a short conversation if that.  Having to leave your home,  lose a great deal of your independence, and deal with the physical ailments of disease or aging has to be devastating.

The residence is very nice and the workers are caring, yet, I often feel a sense of despair. Smiles from residents are few.  It  may well be that I am misinterpreting the situation and creating the negative attitude myself.  I am continually thinking about how much I would want to be in my own home. I do realize, however, that the care needed by the residents would be impossible for most families to provide at home.

I am trying to stay positive and focus on how much I can enrich residents' lives by bringing the community to them.  My job is to increase volunteers and volunteer programs.  This seems to be a legitimate need.  There are programs for activities and entertainment.  The number, though, is really insufficient.  I am amazed at the isolation of the facility.  This place has been open for sixteen years and is within a quarter of a mile of where I shop all the time. I had never heard of it, nor had most of the people I've talked to about it.  How can the residents feel like a part of the community when they are unable to get out often and so few in the community even know they exist? Many do have family members visit, but family is and should be a part of our social life not all of it.  I love my family, but I need to be around others sometimes as well. 

I have one year to build this program.  I know it won't be easy.  I remember how difficult it was to get volunteers for activities at churches and schools.  I do sincerely hope I can make make this work.  Wish me luck..

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