Beginning with Thanksgiving Day, there is an abundance of special foods, music, decorations, parties, gifts, cards and programs we can enjoy as the year draws to a close. Thanks to the traditions of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day and Three Kings Day, some people can look forward festivities that extend further, even into the new year, but, for most of us they end, cold turkey, on Christmas Day. What we all face, sooner or later, is what can feel like, regardless of the gradually lengthening days and the higher than average number of sunny winter days we usually enjoy in Connecticut, the coldest, darkest part of our annual calendar.
I recently shared the story of how two of my blankets were given to residents of a local nursing home. I can’t help but wonder how the coming weeks will pass for them. I suppose they’ll have far fewer visitors, outings and special activities, and, unless Mother Nature provides us with frequently replenished snow, a dreary view out the nursing home’s windows. (I wonder if there are any bird feeders for them to watch?)
I think I can escape any winter blahs that may be headed my way, while helping someone in the nursing home avoid a few of their own, by making a cheerful visit. If all goes as I hope it all, I’ll happily return once a week through at least the months of January and February.
I should have a list of leading questions, little conversation-starters like, “Have you always lived in Connecticut?” Google has come to my rescue by leading me to this looong list of helpful ideas!
Have any of you ever visited a total stranger in a nursing home or hospital? Please share any strategies you found helpful. I’m not shy, but awkward silences are so… well, awkward! :S
I think I’ll take a ripple afghan with me to crochet while we talk and I’ll offer to make them one, in their choice of colors. We can talk about their preferences and, on the next visit, I can take yarns for them to choose from. Their blanket-in-progress could return with me for the third visit and a finished blanket for the fourth. By then, hopefully, we’ll have built up enough of a rapport that any future visits will be easy breezy.
If they already know how to knit or crochet, I can easily give them supplies, or, if they want to learn how, I’d be very happy to teach them!
Playing a game of cards might be a good pastime for us, although, depending on the game, they may have to remind me of the rules!
Several web-sites mentioned leaving some memento of my visit, a reminder that I was there and that I will come again. Things like shampoo, lotion, tic-tacs and tissues with lotion are popular choices at the monthly Bingo games. Beanie Babies are a hit there too. I’ll set aside a few from last week’s haul. I can leave the deck of cards if we play. Maybe they would enjoy playing solitaire or want to grab a game with someone else.
I like the idea of bringing them a 2012 calendar. At the end of each visit I can mark when I’ll be coming again, so they’ll know we have a definite “date”. Hopefully, our visits will become something we both look forward to.
There now, since I’ve written out my intention and shared it with all of you, I’m much more likely to go visit someone!! Thanks for “listening”. 🙂
Linda @ alottastitches