June 16th, 2015
For five years, I have been a regular guest in the elderly home in my town. Until a short time ago, I visited an older woman whith few relatives. She did not get many visitors and could use those weekly visits. We chatted about many things, especially about her past and the present. If the weather permitted, we often took a short walk in the direct vicinity of the house. And we drank coffee, a very important social event in the everyday life of the residents. I escorted the old lady whenever possible to special house events such as a visit from the Samichlaus or music events. Sometimes I brought her to the Audiologist. Sometimes I checked her clothes to make sure there were no spots as she could no longer see them, and the nurses already had a lot to do. It was the small things that really helped her.
Besides being a companion to the old woman, I also conducted (and still conduct), monthly book readings. The residents for the most part do not see well enough to be able to read. “My” elderly lady was a part of this group. The books that are read vary from biographies to the local history. It is a great pleasure for me and the residents look forward to our reading circle.
„My“ elderly woman sadly passed away a couple months ago, and now I am taking a short break before I am ready to visit a new resident. The reading circle continues however. I learn a lot while conducting it. Not just about the varied history of my locality, but also about the past life and everyday life in Switzerland. The books read are very good at getting the participants in the group to open up about their memories. I always listen with pleasure because I am not for nothing a historian.
The activities therapist and I organize yearly an Adventsafternoon inhouse for Advent. This means that we invite the residents for coffee or punch at noon, decorated with Güezli (baked by the residents), read poems and stories about Advent and sing Christmas carols together. This Advents feast is usually very popular among the residents.
I am usually exhausted after such an afternoon, but very satisfied. When one can help make the day of an elderly person enjoyable, who often no longer hears, sees, or walks around well, then my own disability means nothing.