I have been blessed in this life to have been touched by many wonderful people. Heroes who I hold in my heart.
They are too numerous to name, but I felt like sharing a little today.
The silliest things can cause me to stop all that I’m doing, and reminisce about the past.
Today, I received an email from someone requesting a custom order for a product I’ve had in the works in the back of my mind for quite a few years already. An incontinence pad for men.
Yes, as I said, the silliest things will cause me to reminisce.
You see, before I was married, and even for a little while after, I worked with the elderly. In my family there are 5 of us women. My father has always been out numbered by women, with a wife, and 4 girls.
There is a 10 year span between the eldest and the youngest. I am daughter number 3. One of two “middle” children. Not sure if that qualifies me to be a middle child, or not? My older sisters are less than 2 years apart in age, I was born 5 years later, and my younger sister was born 4 years after me.
When I was a very young teen, my mom went back to work full time. She worked in a nursing care facility, a nursing home. This started a whole ‘trend’ for most of us girls and most likely changed all our lives forever. My mom wasn’t just a ‘nurses aid’, my mom was truly a nurses CARE aid. She truly cared. What began as care aid/nurses aid job, soon became a new passion which turned into a desire to go back to school and become a full fledged nurse! Although my mother has passed retirement age (sorry Mama, should I shared that online? lol) even now, she’s still working hard with the elderly as a nurse.
When my mom had first begun working as a nurses aid, we all began visiting her work, and the elderly who lived there. We began having ‘adopted’ grandparents, which suited me just fine since all my grandparents were so very far away in the Netherlands!
I have photos that I wish I could post, however, they are all packed away awaiting our move. One day I will unpack them and share more stories.
By the time I was 15, my very first job was as a waitress. However, when a job for dietary aid came up in the nursing home in which my mom worked, I made my first step of many into the wonderful world of working with the elderly!
After that initial first dietary aid job, I moved onto become a nurses aid/care aid, and at one time I became the activity co-ordinator for another care home I worked in a few years later. This job, was by far, my FAVORITE job with the elderly of all. I still have my name tag from that position. It was the best of everything. I was able to work with the elderly whom I adored, but now, rather then having to do the ‘dirty’ work, I was paid to ‘play’ with them! We would go out for group lunches. I would do manicures and hair styles, even for the men! They LOVED the one on one attention they received. I hosted Happy Hour on Friday afternoons and they would sip non-alcoholic beer, cider, and wine, and munch on salty treats, and if they had enough nerve (and were able!), they would even dance to some good old tunes.
At Christmas I dressed up as Santa, all 110 pounds of me! Once all my photos are unpacked one day, I’ll share the photo I have of me dressed as Santa. In the photo,since I was so small, instead of them sitting on my lap, I’m sitting on one of the elderly the men’s laps! I was all of 5 foot 3 and 3/4′s and he was about 6 foot 6!
We always had lots of fun. I really loved that job.
After Alesia, our eldest, was born, I went back to working weekends in that same nursing home, but this time as a care aid once again. She was just 6 weeks old.We lived right around the corner and every Saturday & Sunday my husband would walk with baby Alesia in the snuggly carrier, and our two small dogs on leash, and bring them all to the nursing home to visit during my dinner break.
The elderly women would fight over who’s room I would use to nurse baby Alesia. While I was having my break and feeding my baby, Graydon (dh) would bring the dogs around to everyone to visit. This was 20 years ago, and back then the rules were much more relaxed then they are today. Employees were always permitted to bring pets, or kids, or anything else that might brighten someone’s day!
I could tell so many stories that have been shared with me over the years by these heroes in my life. Maybe I will tell them, over time, as silly things like incontinence pads for men, bring them to mind. Back in those days I used to smoke, and I would sit outside with the residents who also smoked, and those were the ones I got to know the very best. They would tell me story after story after story. From the men, often it was stories of wars, or cars, or their wives who had passed away before them. For the women, often times it was stories of lost love, of husbands, or even one of a childless young wife who finally became a mother through adoption.
I loved those stories. They always made me wish I knew more stories from my own grandparents. Maybe one day I still will, through my own parents since my grandparents have all passed away now.
I’ll never forget all these ‘adopted’ grandparents I had over the years. I’m forever grateful for the first day my mom began her new career, working with the elderly.