I just love love LOVE hearing about the lives of the people I work with. My dad is a Nursing Home Administrator and has been ever since I was a wee babe. My mom is a nurse. I grew up going to the nursing home for the best ice cream sundaes and playing beach ball volleyball with the residents. I remember helping decorate their doors for Christmas, and making paraffin hand molds while watching Full House on the 'big screen'. I grew up in that environment, but as I got older, I wanted less and less to do with it. I guess I got too caught up like many of us do with some of the smells, the sounds, and a little bit of a fear of some of the people that were there. Super lame when I think back at it. I got into this phase where I just didn't want to have much to do with 'older people' and I have no clue why. Then, later on down the road, OT snagged me. I really didn't know what I'd be doing, was excited about some things and not so much about others. I learned a ton, and then was pushed out to the real world. :)
It was probably an awkward transition for me, but I've reverted back to the beach ball playing girl who thought of the people at the Nursing Home as a random extended family of adopted aunts/uncles/grandparents. I have such a respect for all of the patients I get to work with, and love hearing about their lives and their stories. Hearing about getting through the Great Depression, their roles during war times, their first loves, their current loves, their advice, their regrets, their jobs, etc. I wish I could just record our conversations and make a giant book so their stories aren't forgotten. I love the lost look they get while chatting about things in the past where I know that their are reliving that moment. Or the sparkle in their eye when they talk about their spouse or their children or their accomplishments. I have had great conversations with people and wish that I could stop all of the activities/exercise/ADLs I'm doing, grab a cup of joe, and shoot the breeze for a couple hours while I learn and grow from them. There is just such incredible history there.
Anyway, it's been great, and I have a complete different outlook of the people I work with. No matter their situation, their demeanor, or capabilities, they have a story. And it shouldn't be forgotten.
I found a cool link to keep peoples' stories going by creating books/blogs/etc. I can't really do that with a lot of these people, but I'd like to do that to some people that I know personally. Think about it. Ask your grandparents, neighbor, or that white haired couple in front of you at church. Here's the link. Here's another great link to a blog telling some stories! I'm sure there are others too, so post them so we can start preserving stories!! :)