Today I spent my day at the A.G. Rhodes old folks home. This was our second day there and within the first 15 minutes of arriving I got to meet Donna. She’s like one of those little kids you see that wave to everyone in sight. She’s just a social butterfly. So she was walking and said, “Hi, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Donna. Wanna do a puzzle?” So we went down and did a puzzle and chatted and she’s just the sweetest lady!
I was sitting with Morgan in the hallway with the Alzheimer’s patients and a lady named Jackie got up out of her chair and started to go for a stroll and the nurses were asking her to sit down… well she looked them in eyes and then waved and continued to shuffle away. It made my morning :) – Lindsay
I spent our wonderful Wednesday at A.G. Rhodes assisted living home! This week has been one of my first experiences working one on one with the residents at a nursing home, and wow was I surprised. My idea of working in a nursing home is being bingo and having to talk really loud and constantly repeating yourself. While I definitely partook in all of those, it was so much more than that.
Today I spent my time talking to three incredible women. First, I talked to a woman named Bertha from the Alzheimer’s wing. This experience was like none other. Her condition was like something I had never dealt with before and took so much patience to hold a conversation with her. But in between the about 15 times I had to introduce myself, I really got to know her and understand what her life was like, from her years growing up to her time in A.G. Rhodes. After talking to her I went upstairs to talk to a woman named Maeomi. Maeomi has got to be the most amazing woman I have ever talked to. One of our staff members, Nick, and then Adam and I were able to sit down with this woman for a total of about two hours and we went from crying from laughing so hard to being near tears from hearing about her incredible life and all of the advice she had for us. Never in my life had I met someone so devoted to God and she was truly inspiring to meet someone like her. At one point she prayed for us and it was so meaningful to me and I know that her faith will continue to have a large impact on my life. Finally, I talked to a woman named Cynthia who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Despite the struggles she has faced during life, she was still able to tell the story of how she found God and knows that after her time in A.G. Rhodes, she will be at home with him. She told us about the risks she took during her life, such as the time when her husband of 23 years divorced her and so she started a whole new life and eventually remarried and bought her own house. Her life was full of risk that I could see had paid off and I truly learned so much from her. Before leaving she gave me two pieces of advice that I hope to never forget: keep it simple and stretch, stretch your mind and your body.
I learned so much about myself and others in this experience, more than I could have ever expected. I am so grateful for this opportunity, but now I get to have a whole new adventure tomorrow at a food bank and book donation charity! 1 day of work left! – Katie
Along with the other two bloggers, I spent my day at the A.G. Rhodes retirement home along with the rest of my crew. However, I had the unique privilege to be on beauty shop duty. While it may sound a tad strange for a beauty shop to be located in a retirement home, it was simply a place where a permanent hairdresser would take the time to trim and shape each residents hair. Luckily, they did not task me with actually trimming, and instead I transported residents from the differing floors down in their wheelchairs and would sit and wait for their appointment times.
Typically, I would not feel comfortable talking with strangers or striking up conversations. However, today I felt called to step out of my comfort zone, which is something this mission trip has fortunately pushed me to. I have been able to talk and converse with some of the most interesting people. In fact, Ms. Carr and I had a great time talking about everything from iguanas to college, and I even got a few compliments on my “wonderful hair and teeth”. While we had only just met, I feel like I had an impact on Ms. Carr’s day (however small it was) and she certainly had an impact on me, showing me that even uncomfortable situations can lead to a lot of fun and happiness.
Another resident, named Marge Davis was very eager to talk with me. Unlike Ms. Carr, Ms. Davis and I interacted over both days that my crew visited A.G. Rhodes. Talking with Ms. Davis was less of a conversation and more of a lecture, however that made it all the more enjoyable. The excitement in her voice was tangible and I could really tell that she was genuinely enjoying our time together. Her stories and memories were surprisingly detailed despite the fact that she was 86 years old, and my few comments would spark a flurry of memories and stories that she could recount. Marge not only shared her life story with me but also, before we left, gifted me an exercise book, with images and instructions on how to stay healthy along with a dietary log. The book will not only have a physical impact but it also amazed me at how generous and kind people can be, despite the fact that they are strangers. We had only talked for two hours, yet she was so kind as to give me a gift.
Overall, this mission trip has been an incredible experience. I am continually amazed at how sweet and gentle the residents of Atlanta are, and am extremely thankful for this opportunity. See you all soon. - Jacob