Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bingo with friends

One of the reasons I love being here is that I feel useful, I feel that sometimes I can make a difference. Yesterday - feeling a bit blah - I decided to do something away from the unit. I needed to mix and mingle, be with people - do something positive and productive.

Last year before I started work at the high school I used to do a bit of volunteering at the aged care home - Star of the Sea. I'd go about 11am, sit and chat with a few of the beautiful oldies, and then stay and help the staff feed those that couldn't feed themselves. I loved it.

So yesterday I rang and asked if I could come and do the same - I've got a bit of spare time over the next couple of weeks. Yes, said Terese, we'd love to see you :-)

Rob dropped me off about 11.30 and I introduced myself to the new staff. They were happy to see me .... and they were also very busy, so the fact that I knew my way around and was happy to do my own thing - well, that was a great start to our relationship :-)

The same beautiful darlings are still there - Iacoco, Jaub, Laura, Obi, George, Tommy and Margaret. Iacoco remembered me - she told me I've been away, and it's good that I've come back.

While I was signing out, Maria the sister on duty, asked if I would like to come back today and play bingo with them. They play on a Friday with Pastor Jan, but as they really enjoy it she thought I might like to come and give them an extra day.  Of course :-)

Iacoco and her husband Bua. He was visiting and joined in with Bingo

Margaret - champion bingo player. She won both rounds :-)

George  and Jenny. George is a whizz at cards
Today when I arrived they were being entertained by Brian. Brian lives on site in a self-contained unit - he's one of the 'youngsters'. He also plays eukele and sings :-) So I guess he was the warm up act and I played the main event.

I'd bought a couple of knick-knack things at Col Jones and gave them out as prizes. At first I was going to give them to the 'winner' but once I gave out the first one their eyes followed me to see if I had any more. So at the end of play everyone got a prize.

You know, it's amazing what happens when you provide a bit of mental stimulation. While the game was fun and we had a few laughs, I could see that they were really trying. Sometimes they'd get tired and I would have to show them where to put their marker and even that they had the number called, but for the most part it was their game.

And one sweetheart, who wouldn't tell me his name, had markers all over the place. But still he waited until I called before he covered a number - whatever it was :-)

I would have stayed longer and played another game but I had the car this morning and Rob needed it. And while I was happy to see familiar faces again, I wondered. Time has flown for me since coming up here 12 months ago - does time fly for them? Apart from the distraction of meals and other daily routines, how long are their days?

Yesterday when I arrived, they were sitting in the day room. Some were watching the big screen TV that's mounted on the wall, some were asleep and others were just looking. It made me feel sad.

I'm not an aged care professional - I'm speaking from pure emotion. I know the home is in the process of looking for an activites person - I hope they find one very soon. And I hope this person will not only keep them occupied and stimulated, I hope that they also want to be there - to be with them, know their names, their ways, their likes and dislikes.

These oldies - and I use that word with love and respect - are so special, so childlike, so dependant, so trusting, so beautiful.

I hope life is good for them.

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