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2011/09/01

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,’What are you doing for others?’~Martin Luther King,Jr

I finally work at a job where I do something for others every day.  I hope no one there ever feels I haven’t done my best for them.  It’s an assisted care facility, with many independent residents as well.  I work in activities, so we play games, go on outings to restaurants, films and plays, exercise, do crafts and artwork, and assist them with whatever they need.  Different populations do different activities, based on their cognitive level.  I might add some of the ones who have no dementia can be very bullying and mean, just like little girls in elementary school.  Or pre-school.

First, let me mention this was our 5th day without power, after a big storm (Irene).  This was very stressful for the residents and the staff.  Some of our residents have some dementia, and this only added to their confusion.  I work in activities so the Director requested we come in Sunday to entertain them, which helps distract them.  I played Uno with a group (which is, by the way, a great game to play with people who have dementia).  These 2 ladies said they’d never played before, so I taught them.  We had a good time.

Monday, I asked them to play Uno again.  Although they had never played before (per them), they agreed to learn.  Again, we played and had a fun time.  One of them seemed much more confused that day, and I believe it was because we didn’t have power.  She won most of the games, though!

Yesterday, they were too tired to learn (again) to play Uno.  There is a dominant character in this relationship, and I think she didn’t like her friend winning so much, so nixed learning to play Uno again. She had no conscious memory of playing it the 2 days before.

I believe very much in the power of intention, and thinking positively.  What I’ve noticed is frequently the most demented person in the group wins.  I believe this is because they don’t have an attachment to the outcome.  They aren’t  exactly sure what they are doing anyhow.  They get the concept of running out of cards to win, but don’t understand strategy, which, fortunately, isn’t required a lot in Uno.  When it’s their turn, I tell them to give me a green, red, yellow, whatever color card.  That is something they can do, but might have to see the color to make the association.  When they win, they are surprised and delighted, and the group is also delighted.  I have fun playing this game with them because I tease them and laugh with them and they tease me back.  One of the more demented residents is so courteous and polite.  It will definitely be the last thing she loses.

Today I was blessed to help residents in a few ways–I led exercise this morning.  I led them in a game of Wheel of Fortune after that.  We didn’t have power, so we were doing everything in the big community room which has a lot of windows to see by.  I helped a couple of ladies make greeting cards, with which they were delighted.  I found a lady in the lobby with her silver ice bucket, not looking well, and crying some.  She has bronchitis, and no electricity just added to that discomfort and stress.  I was in a hurry, but I stopped, assessed, and persuaded her to let me go get her some ice from the dining room.  (We have generators, for the kitchen/dining room, parts of the office, some lights in the hallways, etc.)  I filled her beautiful ice bucket and took it to her room for her.  Later the power came back on, and I stopped by her room to make sure she was aware of this.  She seemed better–relieved, thankful, tearful.

I guess that’s about it.  I’m so happy to be able to help people, and get paid (a penance, but I have insurance!) to do it.

And that is that.  I’m tired now, and glad of it, because I didn’t feel like going to bed because I wasn’t tired earlier.  Now I can go get my 4-5 hours of rest.

I shall leave you with another quote from Dr. King.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

and a photo of something pretty.

A card I made

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