Today I am inspired to share with my readers the true gift of sharing moments and memories with the elderly.
My work as a Personal Support Worker has brought me into a variety of settings where I have met and worked with adults and the elderly.
I believe that if we listen with your heart instead of just listening with your ears, there are so many lessons and stories that we can hear and learn from the elderly. Their life experiences and wisdom can enrich our lives if we allow ourselves to take the time to open our hearts and minds.
The joy of working with private clients is that you develop a rapport with the person and a bond as well. It allows you time to enjoy their company and learn from the moments that are shared between you and your client.
I have been working with a private client for over a year – an elderly lady who is 84 years . She was a stroke victim and also diagnosed with dementia and I was hired to provide companionship and socialization to her. There have been some very touching moments, some moments where I doubted if I was reaching her and moments where I saw her come back from illnesses.
But through all of the ups and downs, I can honestly say I do not regret a moment of the time I spent with her or spend with her.
From holding her hands doing crafts with her, sharing music and stories with her and walking around the hospital and nursing home with her looking at the beauty of nature and pictures.
Let me share with everyone what I learned from my time with her
• life is precious don’t take any moment for granted
• let music reach to your souls
• simple things are the ones we should cherish
• life gives you what you put out
• circumstances do not define your life
• life can be full even if dreams have to be changed
• even though there may not be words spoken the message is heard
• simple human contact like holding a hand reaches deeper then words
• generation gaps can be closed by opening your heart
• family is precious
• art, music and stories can be shared on any level
• listen to the stories of the past there are lessons in each one
• people are brought into life for a reason
Do you ever have doubts that you are making a difference or that you are reaching someone?
I have a story to share that will make you think twice before second guessing yourself.
As you all know I work as a Personal Support Worker and I work with an elderly lady who had a severe stroke and has dementia. I have been working with her for over a year as I have seen her sadly in a way go from a vocal person to barely communicative. It is hard to watch knowing her story and all she has accomplished in her life (opera singer in England and ballet dancer in Europe plus avid gardener and horticulturist) to see her wheelchair bound, tube fed and barely communicating.
So lately I started to try to figure out what my role now is with her and if I making an impact. I talk to her about holidays, family, read to her all sorts of poetry and literature, do mini spa days and go for walks and sometimes do hand over hand crafts with her. I was questioning myself about whether there was a point to me being there and if I was even impacting her life positively.
So Friday, I was working with her and I was giving her a mini hand massage and applying cream before the PSW’s at Golden Manor put her back in bed and was trying to think of how to reach her or make her feel happy.
I went over to her stereo and put on her. Polish music (she is from Poland) and at first no response but then it seemed just she was trying to tap her hand to beat. Now this was cool but I couldn’t decide if it was a voluntary action or just involuntary movements, so I just smiled I myself.
After when they had put her to bed, I rewound tape and replayed and kind if went about doing documentation and such, she then would mutter “oh yeah” and all of a sudden I swear she started to try to hum to music. I was at an awe as it had been at least 6 months since she tried to speak or mutter a sound.
I have to say it made my highlight wheel for the day because it was validation that I was making a difference in her life and reaching her on some cellular level.
So the lesson and message I leave you with Is this – never underestimate the impact your life and your presence has on people.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my absence and lack of writing.
Life got a bit chaotic and I had to kind of get a hold of things before I could get my head wrapped around writing again.
But I am back – things are looking up for me and am working on improving things daily.
Firstly, I got a job at Extendicare Timmins as part time Personal Support Worker plus I am still working with my private client and putting in lots of hours.
Secondly, I am doing some personal growth and learning to improve my life and expand my knowledge.
Things are going good marriage wise as well.