2015/03/17

Work: Charity Work in a Retirement Home

Recently I've started to do some charity work in a retirement home. I knew I enjoyed working with the elderly when I did so about three years ago, so I decided to do it once again because it's also a nice experience for the Psychology studies I want to start in autumn. I also feel like I'm doing something worthwhile and senseful.

I'm working for four hours on three days a week. It's a good rate because the job is emotionally demanding although the people and the staff are absolutely sweet.
Nonetheless one is confronted with death, sickness (I find dementia the hardest to deal with - and seeing family members nearly not being recognized by some of the residents breaks my heart sometimes), the moods of everyone (Although occasionally being in a bad mood is understandable for me. I would hate living in a place that's not my home, with people that are strangers to me and to whom I have to explain everything, my habits, for instance. These moods occur no matter how long the residents have been living there, every day is like a restart though.)
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Before you start thinking that working in a retirement home is the worst job on earth, let me tell you: It's not. I said it's worthwhile before and it is. Why? Because the time you spend with the people isn't lost time, not at all. If it's a smile, if it's a "Thank you" I get back, a stroke on the cheek or on my arm, a laugh or a life story, it always feels like a little present to me.
Today, for example, I didn't stop smiling because we cut out easter eggs we want to use as a window decoration, went to the market to buy flowers for the tables and then, at midday, when I fed the woman I usually give food to, she said "I thank you". I honestly felt like a child who just got a new toy, haha. It took about one and a half months for her to talk to me. Patience is the key word in this case.
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Additionally, the elderly do have interesting stuff to tell. I think it's great to learn about life, how it was back then, the difficulties they had to deal with, what everyone did for a living (one of the residents is a professor who also wrote a book or another one lived in Paris for two years). They can tell history.

P.S.: Also there's a cute as button bunny I am taking care of. I love the little fluff ball.

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