How Spending Time At A Retirement Home Has Impacted My Life
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How Spending Time At A Retirement Home Has Impacted My Life

I am very grateful to meet those who have lived so much life.

How Spending Time At A Retirement Home Has Impacted My Life

Throughout middle school, I volunteered at my local retirement village on Friday afternoons. As a twelve year old, I never realized the effect I was having on the residents I interacted with. Although I now understand how special it is to have a young visitor when you are living in a facility such as this one, I also understand how special of an opportunity it was for me to learn from those much wiser than I. As a junior in high school, I was given my first job as a dining attendant at this same retirement home. Although my position and responsibilities drastically changed, I still feel privileged to spend time with members of a different generation.

I became particularly close with one resident whom I visited frequently. After my days of volunteering, I continued to come up to her room after my work shifts and sit and talk. She would tell me about her husband who had passed away many years ago and how amazing of a man he was. We would discuss her children who had moved far away and her grandchildren who she missed very much. Her walls were covered in photographs of her family. My favorite picture however was on the back of her door- a poster sized print out of her holding a martini on her 85th birthday. That image perfectly described my friend and how excited she always was about life. I loved talking with her about boys, school, and most of all, the future. She always knew exactly how to make a stressful situation seem minute and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Her stories about becoming a mom and marrying her best friend made me so excited about the things to come and transported me from my blasé day at work or school.

My high school’s prom was held in the ballroom of the retirement home. Every year I would visit my friend before the dance. She would always admire my dress and send me off with wishes for an amazing night. The last time I went to visit her before prom was not the same. She was silently sleeping in her bed wearing a hospital gown; her room was covered in flowers and balloons. I knew what this meant but pushed down my thoughts and went to the dance.

The next day I came in to visit. Her family greeted me at the door and thanked me for spending time with her. They informed me that she had passed away the night before. Her children I had heard so much about gave me a hug and thanked me again as I left. I was devastated that my friend would not be there to give me advice as I was approaching the end of high school and a huge life change. Through my sadness I became aware of how much she had given me. Although I was volunteering my time, she had taught me things much more valuable than I could have hoped. Losing someone who had been so kind, wise, and joyful was very upsetting. However, learning to deal with the loss of someone important was one last lesson she taught me.

I am very grateful to meet those who have lived so much life. Although I sometimes lose sight of the lessons they have to teach me, the residents I work with have greatly impacted my life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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