I talked this last weekend with a neighbor who had flown to South Africa to visit his elderly mother in hospital, and left her bedside after a relatively short while because he ran out of things to talk about. My experience is that many men expect a ‘conversation’, and don’t realise that being there and holding a hand is just as important.
I also read from posters who visit mother in the facility very often, and also get bored.
I wonder how many posters go to the facility and run an activity, like I did with reading for an hour once a month. I’d think that mother would be pleased and proud if daughter read to a small group, including mother, and it might help to make things better for everyone. Same thing about showing holiday slides (or however you would describe it now), playing a musical instrument, or just playing songs and singing along with Frank Sinatra. Reading interesting bits from the Bible, even discussing old-time recipes! It’s all more fun in a group, and it really doesn’t matter how many people understand the details (0r if you sing in tune).
Do many of our posters do this? What is their experience? Should there be more of it?
I don't read out loud. Guess it has something to do with having to read a paragraph in school. I get nervous in those type of situations.
They brought a boxer service dog into Moms NH. Sitting down you were face to face with him. I am leary of big dogs so I left the area. To me boxers are kind of scary. But the residents seemed to love it.
go and play the guitar to the residents in MC where his mother is. He learned songs they would know and Had sing alongs
I actually wrote a ‘Volunteer Handbook’ in my working life, and checked out with various bodies. Volunteers are easier to organise if the hours are short and convenient (eg come at the end of a shopping trip, certainly not more than once a week). Company for the volunteer is essential, either by working in pairs or by close contact with permanent staff. So is thanks – it needs to be part of the facility’s routine, so passing staff say hello and smile.
It took me a while to get my reading organised. A short chapter or short short story, a poem (best something old that might be remembered from school), sometimes a bit of the Bible. I sometimes used to sing an old song (no voice, but no-one minded, they would nod along and smile). It’s a short attention span thing, definitely not a big production.
The big hospital in Alice Springs has volunteers who go around with a trolley with magazines and little things to show, and stop and chat with anyone who is awake and bored. That’s another option.
I must add that a ‘rabbit rescue’ program is a jaw-dropper for an Australian!
One rabbit, Bill, acted like less like a rabbit, more like a cool cat, and was very comfortable being held. I used to bring Bill to see my mother, and the next time I might bring a dog. (Obviously, some animals would not be a good fit for this.)
None of the animals were certified; the NH trusted my judgment and so allowed it.
The original intent was for my mother, but the residents just loved to see me walk in with Bill or Meisha to get their animal fix on. Could make my eyes tear up. They were so in need of touch (!) beyond their daily medical pokes and jabs, and enjoyed even a momentary sense of companionship.
A larger facility would most likely require certification. (My niece is presently getting her latest adopted dog certified in order to visit NHs.)
I know I haven't offered a very practical idea, but it might spark some ideas.
And while scheduled activities have their place spontaneity can be good too, we loved it when one of the residents would practice on the piano and even having a couple of the PSW's take 5 minutes to play chopsticks was a mood brightener!
When my son was young he went to a non-profit daycare/preschool and "Grandma Pat" used to come and have storytime with the older kids once a week. She was just a neighborhood Granny (or attended the church that housed the preschool) and I don't think she even had a relative at that daycare. She was greated like a rock star when she came (and she was very advanced in years).
I've served on several boards of non-profit organizations that depend on volunteers and although it sounds lovely in theory, it has proven challenging to keep the same volunteers coming on the same schedule. Retired people don't seem to like being on a committed schedule anymore (not that I blame them). In the summertime teenagers who are too young to work may be a good pool of helpers or entertainers. Some highschools now required some community service (in the US) as part of their graduation requirement. Boy or Girl Scouts (if they can stop peddling cookies for a minute). Maybe talk to a church youth group pastor (they are often grateful for ideas and outlets for their kids). It will be easier to solicit help if your activity has a defined beginning and end date because it will be a more tolerable commitment. It is a worthy idea and effort, and better than nothing.