Donating time at nursing homes

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(Host) If you have just a little free time during the holidays – or any time during the year for that matter – commentator Anna Jamieson has a suggestion for putting it to good use.

(Jamieson) There’s a place where you know everyone’s name. And it’s a place where most everyone knows your name too. No, it’s not the set from the old TV show Cheers, it’s your local assisted-living facility or nursing home. I can think of at least four good reasons to donate an
hour or two of your hectic schedule to visit a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

The first reason is, it’s so easy. All you have to do is sign your name in the visitor book. You may also have to write the time you are visiting, and who you’re visiting. But other than that, it’s a very simple process. And I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been doing this with youth and school groups for years. And I have found it very rewarding.

Now, this may not seem like such a big thing, but
it’s more rewarding for both parties involved than you might imagine. For the visited it provides social stimulation and a break from the usual daily routine. For the visitor, it provides some interesting stories from days long ago, and the feeling you get when you’re a good Samaritan. After a few visits, you’ll begin to get to know some of the residents, and they’ll seem less like elderly strangers, and more like interesting people who appreciate everything you do for them

The third reason is, an assisted-living facility is a great place to share some of the talents with which you are blessed. If you have a talent you think others will enjoy, and you are willing to share it, contact the facility activities director to talk about what you have to offer. The more activities in which the elderly engage, the sharper their minds will stay. If you are a proficient painter, maybe you could volunteer to help out during an art class. Or maybe you could even teach an art class to the elderly. You’ll never know if your talent will be enjoyed by the residents unless you ask the activities director.

And finally, no matter how much we don’t like to think about this: we’re all going to get old. Some of us will end up in group homes and welcome visitors ourselves one day. If you think about it that way, it just seems a natural thing to do.

This is Anna Jamieson in Manchester.

Anna Jamieson is a senior at Burr and Burton Academy.

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