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Want a rewarding adventure? Visit a local nursing home

June 06, 2010|By LLOYD "PETE" WATERS

Have you been to a nursing home recently? Probably not, huh.

That might be asking a lot of you.

I know when you think about nursing homes, you might get a little depressed. You might begin thinking about that environment, all the suffering, pain and misery that lives there.

The smells might be a little distracting, too.

You might tell yourself that there are more pleasant things to do.

However, if you can get by all your negative feelings, visiting a nursing home can be a noble adventure.

Seeing a loved one, or visiting a neighbor there, can be most rewarding.

If you don't know anyone in a nursing home and just want to be a good Samaritan and visit anyway. Well, that's OK, too.

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I always did like good Samaritans.

I made a trip the other day to visit a friend, and upon my arrival took the elevator to the third floor.

You have to be very careful when you get off the elevator, a patient might want to leave.

From a patient's viewpoint, if you don't know where you're going, it never really matters much where you go, you just like the notion of being gone.

Visitors, therefore, have to be a little mindful.

While walking down the hallway of this facility, I observed an elderly lady sitting in a wheelchair and she was bent forward and apparently talking to the floor.

I stopped to inquire if I could help. Thus began my adventure.

"Who are you talking to?" I asked.

She looked up at me and responded, "I think my mom is in the cellar."

"Are you sure?" I inquired.

"Well, I've been calling her but she doesn't answer" was her reply.

"Perhaps she went to the store," I said. "Nope, I don't think so, "she replied.

"Well, maybe she went to church," I continued.

She rolled her eyes at me and offered, "Not hardly!" And she then scurried away in her wheelchair. I chuckled.

Each patient, no matter the disability or illness, has a unique personality. Many enjoy the visitors.

Another lady there is also a hoot. She is always laughing and said to me the other day: "you're a real cutie."

I thought for sure she was blind, but not so. I concluded she didn't get many visitors.

One gentleman I often see there is constantly cleaning up the place. Another responds when you call his name, and he seems thankful that someone still remembers his name.

The lady I visit is a neat little person. She is prime and fit physically, but has a little trouble remembering things.

She likes to sing, and one of her favorite tunes is about a little old lady in a rocking chair.

The only verse she knows goes like this....

"Sitting alone in an old rocking chair

"I saw an old mother with silvery hair

"She seemed so neglected by those who should care

"Rocking alone in an old rocking chair."

My friend has a lovely voice, and her singing is angelic.

The message of her song seems so poignant in our society today.

People will always find time to do those enjoyable things in life.

Why not take a moment to brighten someone else's day and set off for an adventurous trip to a nursing home.

Staff members at these facilities work some very long and hard days. Their challenges can be often difficult and their rewards minimal.

The patient's days can be filled with much anguish and despair, but perhaps the greatest trial is a day without a visit.

Whether or not they even remember your visit is but a small consequence.

Someone once shared the following quote with me, "when I was sick, you visited me." That made a lot of sense to me ... hope it makes a little to you as well.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes a column for The Herald-Mail.

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