Date the Weekly Reflection was first submitted: 02/26/2020
Name: Elizabeth Deely
Nursing Home: North Florida Rehab and Specialty Care
Date of visit:
Length of visit: 1
1. Tell us the names of the nursing home residents you visited, and in a few sentences describe one interesting thing that you learned about each.
I met Ms. Jan. She has a sarcastic and quick whit about her and shared a few mischievous childhood stories about a cat and switching the sugar for salt. It was clear that she tries to make light of things and kept repeating, "what else are you going to do, if not have fun?" She has four sons, the youngest is in the Navy and is named John.
We also met a man named Richard. He is a fan of billiards and is definitely a Gator. When he learned I work at UF he kept asking me about the pool tables at Reitz Union.
2. During your visit with these residents, did you run out of things to talk about? If so, how did this silence make you feel? What were some of the highlights of your visit?
Yes, a few times. It made me feel uncomfortable. Heather or John did a good job of allowing the natural silence and then introducing a new question about the resident.
The highlight is that it happened. The anticipation can create excitement and anxiety. Also, I think getting past the first visit feels good because it's the first step to getting over the anxiety hump.
3. In a few sentences, describe the atmosphere at the nursing home. Did you see anything that you found surprising? Was there anything that happened that made you uncomfortable? What things helped the experience to be enjoyable?
The atmosphere was positive. The staff seemed kind and happy. It was definitely harder than expected because of the reality of nursing home care. For many years I've wanted to volunteer and in my head was a very romanticized version of what that meant. But the reality is watching people actively suffer from bed sores, immobility, and struggle to find their words. It hit my heart.
When we visited Richard, his roommate was being a bit combative with the staff who were clearly trying to help him. The curtain was drawn and before long we smelled feces and heard nasty language being flung at the staff. It was quite uncomfortable but we continued to talk with Richard and didn't skip a beat. But, I could help feel like I was invading that man's privacy.
The level of comfort that Heather and John brought to the experience made it enjoyable. The calmness and friendliness of the staff as well. Although the staff wasn't actively engaging us, they were warm and greeted me with smiles. I don't know that I would call visit #1 "enjoyable" – I would call visit #1 eye-opening and a reminder of why these people need committee volunteers.
4. Do you think you’ll be remembered by any of the residents next week? If not, does that bother you? What things help you to know you are making a difference whether or not you are remembered?
Spoiler…. I am filling this reflection out the morning after visit #2. 🙂
We weren't able to see Ms. Jan but Richard remembered me. Not my name but I was familiar to him and he remembered I work at UF (Reitz Union pool hall specifically).
It wouldn't bother me even if he didn't remember me — because it's not about me,