• Last modified 2853 days ago (July 28, 2011)


One Woman’s View

Welcome new experiences

Contributing writer

I like to think I thrive on new experiences, and sometimes they can be much better than you ever expect.

A few months ago, I had to have knee replacement surgery. Since I live alone with nobody to drive me to outpatient physical therapy, this meant some time in a nursing home. Unfortunately, most elderly people, including me, do not view a nursing home as the site of their dream vacation. I was prepared to accept my time there, but I hardly expected to thoroughly enjoy it. However, that is how it turned out.

Marion County is very fortunate in having several excellent nursing homes.

The nurses and aides were very kind and caring. They uncomplainingly changed my sheets when I spilled orange juice in my bed, picked up the things I dropped on the floor, and sometimes even gave me foot rubs at bedtime. If they thought I was the biggest nuisance ever admitted there, they certainly did not show it. I was impressed by their unfailing patience.

The laundry workers, custodians, maintenance workers, office, and dietary personnel were equally friendly, caring, and conscientious. The activity director planned events to interest almost anyone. Some of the residents planted and worked in a garden. Some of us went shopping or enjoyed a picnic in the park. One of my favorite activities was “Minds Meet,” where some of us gathered nearly every day to learn about some subject of interest. In fact, I enjoyed that so much, that I still drop in on it whenever I’m in town.

When I was going into the home, I sort of expected to put my life on hold for two or three months, and least when it came to doing anything useful. Even that did not turn out to be so. I can’t say I made a tremendous impact, but I never do outside the nursing home either. I did have occasional opportunities to help another resident with something. A friend living there had lost her sight. Since she and I had always shared a love of poetry, I found time to go to her room a few times and read poetry to her. A man recovering from a stroke seemed to enjoy watching me attempt to put jigsaw puzzles together, which is not one of my many talents.

I admit I am glad to be back at my own home in Tampa enjoying my wonderful friends and neighbors. However, if I ever do have to return to a nursing home, I don’t think I will dread it much, and I would suggest that other older people do not need to dread it either. Thank you to all the workers and residents who made my stay very pleasant.

Last modified July 28, 2011