Caring for the elderly allows them not worry about the things they cannot do anymore and celebrate the things that they can, not only supporting them in their needs, but also providing them with a valued friend and confidant.
Lasts weeks we were visiting our elders here, in the area of Utrina. We are always together with another Croatian volunteer, that for example can help us in translation (in general, they don’t know to speak English, so we must pay attention about what are they saying).
I perfectly remember my first visit. I was so excited! I met this volunteer in front of the lady’s house and we came there. This woman was really nice and gentle. She was waiting for us with some coffee and biscuits! We sat in the table and they started to talk in Croatian. In this point is when I started to think (Oh my god I need to learn Croatian by hard, oh! I know this word, maybe they are talking about this…) but the only thing I could do was smile, and try to catch every word or sentence. And of course ask for translation to the volunteer.
Well, we were talking about my country, family, and my way of life here in Croatia and after that, she asked us for help. She needed us to change her bed sheets. And of course, we did it.
After one hour, the Croatian volunteer left us and I had the opportunity to stay alone with her. It was really challenging because we didn’t know to speak the other’s language (me in Croatian and she in English) but it was really successful. I made her a massage with a specific cream and she was speaking in Croatian to me. I could not understand her but I was happy because I was there, for her, providing my help.
Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes you maybe think that you’re doing nothing or that maybe they don’t need your help. But you’re doing something useful for them.
Even if is sitting in a chair and listen what they say, even if you don’t understand or don’t know how to express yourself or how to communicate…
5 benefits in a work with elderly
- You really make a difference to their lives. Your support is really important for them. And they really appreciate.
- They appreciate your time and what you do for them.
- It gives you some perspective. Valuable insight into the ageing process and what’s to come.
- You can learn from their experiences. People from past generations are like time machines. You can learn from their knowledge and stories as well. Their memories can give you perspective to different time and can help you to understand more about history as well as the human experience over time.
- It’s fun. Working with the elderly can be really funny!
You can make a real difference in their lives –and your own.