When I was 16 I got a job at a local nursing home in my hometown. I started off as a janitor because a job was a job. After several months my manager and I decided I would be a better fit in activities — and that's one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I've worked in activities at this nursing home for almost three years now. Since I currently attend college in another state, I only work on vacations. I choose to do my community service for one of my scholarships at a nursing home by campus, and it has been an equally fulfilling experience. Being in activities has made me realize so many things about myself, other people, and life. Here are some of the many reasons why I love being a activities assistant in nursing homes.
Recreational activities have so many physical and mental health benefits for all ages.
Physical benefits are the reduction of obesity, boosting of the immune system and increasing life expectancy. Mental health benefits include the reduction of stress and depression and improvements in quality of life with self-esteem, personal growth, and life satisfaction. Physical and mental benefits from recreational activities also mean without them, there are drawbacks. The chance of depression, low self-esteem, and obesity will significantly heighten without an active participation in recreational activities. Recreational activities have a benefit to the general population, but also to the elderly population. There are many studies and articles to prove these benefits, and if you are interested reading about the benefits here is an article from the California State Parks Planning Division that articulates the social and physical benefits of recreations.
The residents at the nursing home can become like a second family
When I addressed my residents that I was going to be moving away for school and only visiting every few months, it was sad. On my last day I got a few cards, and many hugs from some of the people I had come to love. My time at the nursing home was spent making sure I could keep people both entertained and happy. I spent time talking to them, listening to them and doing activities with them. There was a woman who was very distraught one day, so I spent the afternoon sitting in her room with her talking about all of her worries and making bookmarks. When I walk into the nursing home it feels like home, and anytime I return I’m greeted with hugs and smiles. There is a gentleman who has a picture of him and me framed from father’s day a few years ago when I gave him a “super dad” button. I’ve spent many holidays at that nursing home and it feels like that’s who I need to celebrate with-- those loving faces.
I have been given some of the best advice from my residents
My senior year I was faced with some tough decisions on what I wanted to do with my life, and it was a resident who told me something that I’ll never forget. “It doesn’t really matter what job you have or where you go. What matters is that you are happy, where you are makes you happy, and what you do makes you happy. If you are in a job that you don’t enjoy, you have the wrong job.” That particular resident said that to me a few times before I went off to college, and now that has become a thought I have on the regular.
I get to do activities for a job.Now, it’s not all fun and games — there is paperwork and assessments I do. I won’t lie to you, though, my job is pretty great. I’m a pretty social person. I enjoy talking, singing, playing games and doing crafts. Those are all things that I get to do on a daily basis at the nursing home. I put a lot of care into my daily activities and my interactions with the residents. Most importantly, though, I get to help people. At the end of the day, I know I made at least one person’s day a little bit brighter by talking to them or playing their favorite music. That is why I love working in a nursing home.