For a little heart-warmer, let the ChocnutMuncher brings you a tiki-tour to their Christmas Party held at Hospicio de San Jose together with some 20+ resident elderly.
Hospicio de San Jose is located along Ayala Bridge in Manila. It has been around for 200 years caring for children, elderly and physically challenged. For more info, you may check out their website by clicking here.
We arrived at the area at around 1:30 PM which is just perfect for the 2PM activity. Boy, we were nervous since this is everybody’s first time to do an outreach program. Actually, this is my 2nd time but my first chance to share my blessings personally was with children and you know how kids are, energetic, playful and much easier to please and ‘command’. 🙂 Given the fact that I barely remember any memory of my grandmas and grandpas, I am amongst my peers who were all as if clueless how to deal with elders. But fret no more, I’m sharing some tips we were told before the party and some tips we learned after. Read on:
- This is the most important tip or rule. BE PERSONAL and TALK TO THEM. This is the reason why an organization such as the Hospicio is encouraging a one-to-one ratio for volunteers and elderly. Let no one forget that more than the food, gifts, and performances that you prepared for them, what they need is TLC (tender loving and caring). They need someone to talk to, someone who’ll be kind enough to take some time just to listen (not just hear) what they have to say no matter how obsolete or out-of-this-world they may be and by listening means you’ll respond.
- LET YOUR GUARDS DOWN. I say this to all who are always conscious of their looks. Your whole attention and energy will be focused on them especially that most of them will have to be fed. They are the stars of the day! You will clean their table mess, wash or wipe their hands and lips. They are like toddlers really. Well, most of them are, in our case. But again, do not fret just yet because even if they are indeed strangers, you’ll surely feel something inside your heart and soul has been moved by merely touching their delicate almost fragile wrinkly hands.
- In connection with no. 2, WEAR SOMETHING COMFORTABLE and MINIMIZE ACCESSORIES. Wear light clothes too if the venue isn’t air-conditioned. There will be times when you would have to kneel, bow down, lean over, run and stretch some muscles. Chances are also high that they will try to ask for the accessories you are wearing. So it’s advisable not to use accessories which you cannot afford to lose. Also, it’ll be a bit headache if you give one of them something which others do not receive. Elders are jealous people! But if you cannot really resist the charm of grandma or grandpa (lola or lolo), you can still give them something but do it secretly or discreetly.
- SAY NEXT TIME. “Next time” is a phrase you’ll have to speak so often because naturally, they will be asking several requests. It’ll be a common thing that grannies and gramps will ask you for things like food which you did not bring, so just tell them sweetly – Next time po.
- JUST GO WITH IT. If they say they want bread, give them the cake you brought. If they say they want another round of that delicious spaghetti, give them the pancit you brought. They would still love it! If they say they are in a certain place, if they say they’ll have another party later or if they say anything else which is completely harmless anyway, just go with it.
- GIVE THEM THEIR FAVORITE. Ice creams and cakes. Perhaps because they could taste so well the desserts.
- KEEP IT HAPPY. Avoid sad music and being very sentimental or emotional. Tell happy stories. Make conversations joyful. Avoid sensitive topics as well, e.g. why are they there, where are their relatives and how long they’ve been there. Just talk about their favorites, pass times and maybe showbiz. Talk about heavens, angels, and the Mighty Creator. Keep in mind that your main and sole purpose is to make them happy.
- I was wrong with no. 1. This is the most important tip or rule. GENUINELY ENJOY YOUR TIME WITH THEM. Nothing beats that! They’ve been alive for years and years, some we’ve met are 99 years old already. We were fidgety the whole time and we were short of a good program but since we were truly enjoying chatting with them, feeding them and cleaning their food clutter, everything went well and we later saw smiles and heard some music from them.
That’s it pansit! As easy as A-B-C. 🙂 Below are some snapshots of our outreach activity. I hope you all get inspired and soon decide to give some time to many elderly who are feeling alone in this life. Needless to say, this experience has done something good to my inner self, something I cannot comprehend just yet.
P.S. Author has no intention to show-off. The author just wants to share how enjoyable it is to share one’s blessings and if lucky enough she might inspire or encourage one reading soul. This is also to promote her personal advocacy in life. Thank you!
Blessed Holidays to all,