Hi everyone! So first things first, how was your weekend? Mine was packed with clumsiness and eating loads of junk but you know, I’ll try and fail at being healthy another time. Last Friday, as a year group, we were asked to volunteer which mostly everyone complained about and even one said it was slavery (think that’s slightly over the top). The options were: picking rubbish up at a beach which would take miles of walking, working at a boring museum of a small town nearby where incest is popular in the local history or hanging out with the elders. So I picked the care home which seemed like the best choice at the time.
I got to have a massive lie in as we had to get to the care home by ten, however we also had to pick up Reece as he can’t walk due to his leg at the moment. To be fair though, Reece could have hopped faster there as my dad wouldn’t move away from work calls until I dragged him out of the house. After picking up Reece, my father and Reece had a weird bonding moment when they found out they’ve known each other for nearly a year which made me feel like a huge third wheel (which occurs often when in the car with them).
When we got there, I realised that I didn’t really know anyone apart from Emily and Reece. Although, most people were kinda friendly apart from this group of boys who I was surprised I didn’t find them smoking weed in the disabled toilets. The teachers who were with us were two of my past teachers, one a music/pretend psychology teacher and a science teacher who didn’t remember who I was. After waiting for about 5 minutes for the ‘hard’ people who had better time to waste, we were to go into this little room which had a lot of children books and really comfy seats but I was scared to sit on them, thinking about how many old people have farted on it. The small meeting which was led by this red haired middle aged career was really quiet as we were pretty nervous about hanging with other human beings. I think the only time I heard someone talk was Reece reacting to being bullied by the science teacher about his leg and me (and Emily) rolling our eyes.
Our first thing to do on the timetable was to garden their memorial area for residents that have died. It was actually pretty fun flinging the water hose around and putting pretty red flowers in the soil which I have never really done before. However, everyone and even the elders were kinda bored which was shown by how everyone was staring at me watering the fountain like it was Saturday tv entertainment.
For lunch, we were to eat with the elders. However, my group only did it and we were stuck with this old lady who kept choking and sleeping (which at the time, thought had deceased). On the menu, was noddles or fish and chips so I went for chips as the fish looked not cooked well and the noodles didn’t look like noodles.During eating, Reece decided to say ‘This conversation is a little dead’ after the woman closed her eyes and ignored us. Thankfully, she seemed like she didn’t hear or I would have been so so embarrassed.
However, I began to realise why a care home can be depressing for people. This is the last place you are ever going to be and maybe even die here. You’re getting the last of your life where you may never see your grandkids again or your friends. You’re surrounded with people who are going through the same as you and they all know it. People, like me, coming here to volunteer and pretending like we know what it is like and then skip to the stereotype of old people being grumpy when in fact, they are stuck here in this lonely place. They were young once, they fell in love and a lot have lost the ones who meant the most to them. So, on that trip, I learnt a lot. However, I’ll never fully know until I’m in that position of being close to death and having so much life experience.
So next time you see your relatives in a care home, remember that they are probably going through a hard time and to make the most of the time what you have with them which I wished I did with my great grandma when she was alive rather than being scared of her because she was old and needed help.
aka. Hideaway Girl xxx