I wish you all could have been there. The problem is that the seniors living in healthcare communities need their privacy. I want to show you all pictures of the residents cuddling their stuffed animals or admiring the tissue paper flowers that you have made, and the marvelous gifts that you have given to me…but I don’t want to “exploit” so I never take pictures. And the policy of the nursing homes is that outsiders are not permitted to photograph residents. So, in my own words…..
I took 15 festively decorated shoe boxes to a facility in Bucks County. They were all lined with red and green tissue paper. Bows were wrapped around the boxes or taped to the top. Fifteen residents were sitting in a circle. I had a couple of Christmas videos to show them but before I began, I opened the top of each box. All eyes were gazing at me wondering what was going to happen next.
I couldn’t give each person a shoe box at random because lots of boxes had things in them that were “contraband” for certain people. Like people with diabetes could not have the box with Hershey Kisses and hard candy. (Although, they would have taken the treats in a minute.) So, I emptied all of the items on a big table and gave each person an empty box and then they “shopped” at the table. They all swung their wheelchairs toward the “store” and selected five items that they wanted to have.
I had one “shoplifter.” She selected her five items and then took one of my white plastic bags and filled that one up with items. She said, “Excuse me. I have to go back to my room to go to the bathroom.”
She wheeled back a few minutes later without the white bag – all stashed safely in her room. And that’s okay – quite okay with me and probably with you, too. I remember a past conversation with her when she said how glad she was to live in the nursing home. Everyone here is my family. I didn’t have much of one. I was what they called the BLACK SHEEP. Everybody practically said BAA BAA when I was around. I could never do anything right.
If these extra gifts make her feel a little loved……isn’t that what we want to happen?
Thank you to everybody and I mean from the bottom of my heart. I am so happy delivering the Christmas goodies and I wish you could see what your gifts mean to people who like surprises – just like kids do at holiday time.