Editor’s Note: “Impact Oklahoma” is a new column we’ll be routinely featuring from KD Delgado. It focuses on making a difference in the community. KD Can be reached at ImpactOKColumn@gmail.com
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I want to do something fun today. I want to help someone. I want to teach my kids to help others….but how?” I know we all find ourselves thinking this at one time or another. Even with social media, advertisements, & word of mouth, we still have a difficult time deciding where to start.
Where does “Impact” begin?
First, I want you to look in the mirror. Do you see yourself? Do you know yourself? You are your own solution. Making an impact starts with you. Ask yourself, what type of things do you like to do? What are your hobbies? What is your passion? What do you do for a living? What type of interaction do you miss? If you do not know yourself, then trying to step out of your comfort zone to impact the lives of others can be a challenge.
I will use myself as an example: I just love to see people smile and I really love elderly. I enjoy talking to people and getting to know their life story. I love surprising people and although it sounds mean, I love to make people cry…tears of joy, of course. My favorite past times are spent with my great grandmother and at the nursing homes my grandmother worked at. From knowing myself, I realized, I like to remind people that they are not alone or forgotten.
So where did I start? A nursing home and you can start there too.
It’s no secret that nursing homes can be some of the loneliest places you will ever visit. Almost everyone has a family member that lives in one. Many of us go visit twice a week at first, then over time it becomes once a week, then a month, then we just keep planning…but it doesn’t happen. Life gets busy and we never slow down. But for the residents time is everything. All they have is time to think, think about memories, regrets and your promise that you would visit. Although the staff try their best to be a friend and visit with every resident it is still difficult to give everyone personal one on one attention. It means so much to the resident’s to have a visitor that is not receiving anything in exchange, just the pleasure of their company. Even just 30 minutes can brighten an entire week for a resident that has not had a visitor in two years. Yes, many residents’ go months to years with no visitors…and sometimes no phone calls. It shines like a bright light through your eyes and you can see it on their face when they realize…someone cares. You care.
Most people don’t realize that the majority of nursing homes welcome visitors and volunteers to come sit with the residents and children are more than welcome. Resident’s love to be around children, talk to them, color with them, listen to them read and so on.
Are you asking yourself, “Well I’m not very social or my kids are kind of rowdy?”
Do you have a hobby? Do your kids like to color or paint? Residents love gifts especially from children. Have an arts & crafts day with your children and make the resident’s cards for an upcoming holiday or just some encouragement. Call the nursing home and ask about upcoming birthdays or events. You can also ask if they have any resident’s that do not have regular visitors and make them your main priority.
Arts & crafts not for you? You have no children?
Don’t worry, you would be surprised at what some resident’s want. For instance, some of the gentlemen may just want someone to play chess with. The women, someone to gossip with or sit outside and look at the flowers with. I believe nursing homes are the perfect place for anyone to start.
Not only will you impact the resident’s there but they will leave a lasting impact in your life as well.
Impact Challenge: This week, I challenge you to look in the mirror and get to know yourself. Decide where you will begin. Whether it is starting small smiling at strangers or visiting the elderly, your impact story can start now.
Sapulpa has four nursing homes to choose from:
1310 E Cleveland Ave
1165 Brenner Rd
310 W Taft Ave
Northside Nursing Home
102 E Line Ave