Being involved as we have been with ministries in senior centers throughout Vital Signs’ history (the latest activity being our “When Swing Was King” shows in 12 facilities each month), I can testify to the insightful, compelling truths of the column. Check it out.
Dear Readers: Today is Thanksgiving. If you know someone who is alone today, please invite him or her to share your Thanksgiving dinner and help make the occasion truly special.
Today we'd like to run a piece that has appeared in this space several times. It was written by Judy Vekasy, a registered nurse and director of activities in a nursing home in Savannah, Tenn. Here it is:
In this season of thanksgiving and just plain giving, I have some suggestions for those who need something to be thankful for or those who need someone to allow them to give. Nursing homes are full of opportunities.
You say you can't do anything. Can you read? Good. Read to me. My eyes aren't what they used to be.
Can you write? Good. Write a letter or a card for me. My hands are shaky.
Can you sing? Good. Help me with the words and I'll sing along.
Can you tell me about your job? I was a nurse once myself.
Can you listen? Wonderful. I'm starved for conversation.
Can you bake a sponge cake or zucchini bread or angel biscuits or make fudge? They aren't on the nursing home menu, but I remember how good they were and I would like to taste them again.
Do you play checkers or dominoes or rummy? Fine, so do I, but there is never anyone who has the time. They are understaffed around here, you know.
Do you play the violin or the flute or the piano? My hearing is poor, but I can hear any kind of music. Even if I fall asleep, you'll know I enjoyed it.
Once we were somebodies, just like you. We were farmers and farmers' wives and teachers, nurses, beauticians, stockbrokers and electricians, bankers and sheriffs and maybe a few outlaws, too.
We're not all senile — just old and needing more help than our families can give us. This home, whatever its name, is "home" to us, and you're an invited guest. Please come. The welcome mat is always out and not just on Thanksgiving. I hope you will keep this and read it again in January, February, and every other month of the year. We'll still be here, and our needs will be the same.