As part of their Personal Development Skills unit, the Senior and Intermediate VCAL class at the Yarra Junction campus of YVCS have been visiting the Estia Nursing Home in Yarra Junction on a weekly basis. The following is Takysha’s story.
Elderly people can face a wide range of difficulties. They may be facing problems with their moods such as becoming depressed, experiencing the loss of loved ones, and also watching their friends need help and feeling helpless themselves.
For a 12-week period this year, I shared 2 hours each week with Florence, a resident from Estia Nursing Home in Yarra Junction. I learnt through conversations with Florence that a big thing that brought on depression was watching her friends slowly start to lose themselves and deteriorate medically. She said that she’s been with the Red Cross for decades and has always been able to help people and now she can barely help herself. It’s also the little things that can become overwhelming for the elderly, like for a passionate writer who with age loses the ability to write, a footballer who can no longer run. These are massive losses to people; to slowly start losing small components that help make who they are.
There might not be a cure for these symptoms but there is a massive way to help them and anyone can do it, and this is what our class has been doing this semester. We have been visiting the nursing home in Yarra Junction and spending time with the residents there. We don’t have to do much, just find some spare time to bring a smile to someone’s face, and just sit down with them, have a coffee and talk. We can gain knowledge from these people and they can learn from us too. As humans we are social creatures and this is imbedded in us all, but as we get older we lose our social network.
Throughout my whole experience with Estia Nursing Home and Florence I saw firsthand how life changes with age. I gained patience, learned to appreciate the value of teamwork, and most importantly I made a new friend. It was great sharing stories, looking at photos and laughing. I know that I will never forget my time with Florence. It was beautiful to see her eyes light up every time I walked into the room, to know I could talk to someone without getting judged. It was very rewarding to be a part of such a lovely program.
These are the types of programs that our VCAL students participate whilst studying at YVCS. For further information on our youth education services, click here.