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    October 28, 2012

    Another possible future "Career" for Me

    I'm trying to think of something INTERESTING to write about and failing (AS PER USUAL). The only thing that keeps sticking in my mind is this conversation I had with my parents this weekend about retirement homes. I KNOW. If that is not excellent blog fodder WHAT IS?!

    BUT SERIOUSLY. Did you know that I used to work in an adult family home? Which is code for "some narcissistic rich lady turns her mansion into an assisted living facility and hires Russian immigrants and a couple of silly girls in their 20s to take care of six extremely crotchety old ladies". Or maybe that is only true in my case. But yes, this was one of my better paying jobs in college and it was both incredibly Life Affirming AND the worst job I have ever had in my life. Turns out I really love crotchety old ladies and I really abhor narcissistic rich ladies who take advantage of Russian immigrants and 20-something girls who don't know any better.

    Before that I spent a summer working in a REAL assisted living facility, making beds, vacuuming carpets, serving breakfast, and learning how to fold fitted sheets. After college I volunteered to be a "friend" at a nursing home, and was assigned an old lady who (I'm pretty sure) had no family, no friends who were still alive, and never remembered a single thing I told her. Eventually she remembered ME, but she never remembered that I had a boyfriend or where I worked or where I lived or what we did the week before, but she knew that when I visited she got to go outside for a while and this was enough. I had to stop seeing her when I switched jobs (I would visit her once a week on my lunch break downtown) and I've always felt a little guilty about that. 

    It's so far away still, but I DO think about what I'm going to do with myself when all the kids are in school. Or even, honestly, what I'll do next year when it's just Emma and me until 3pm every day. The possibilities seem endless. And until I was talking to my parents this weekend, I'd sort of forgotten that I thought it might be fun to work in a nursing home. 

    FUN! I know. My dad volunteers for the library every couple weeks, delivering books to nursing home residents. Every so often he has a good story about one of his clients or something interesting to say about the activity directors and this weekend I thought: HEY. THAT STILL SOUNDS KINDA NEAT! My dad said, "Don't you think it must be DEPRESSING?" It's true - my dad's library patrons keep dying on him. But I am an optimistic sort who believes in A Better Place and I don't feel anxious about that part.

    Some people love doing crafts with three-year-olds and have a great time with the preschool set, others think hanging out with octegenarians is where it's at. I'm definitely the latter. I feel like I have to impress little kids or con them into liking me or trusting me somehow. I don't feel comfortable leading a group of kids, but I have plenty of experience charming old ladies. They're easier. They have lower standards. Yeah, some of them are nasty, but a lot of them just want to chat. I'm GREAT at chatting when I'm not worried the other person won't like me!

    I just got a flyer in the mail from the organization I volunteered with years and years ago. I haven't heard from them in forever and I have no idea how they got my new address. But I was instantly interested. And I have a BABY this time. Is there anything old ladies love more than babies? NO. I would be SO POPULAR.

    So I'm considering it. Maybe after the holidays. I'll sign up to be a "friend" again and make a weekly playdate with a nursing home resident and maybe see what goes on in those places again. I think it would be an excellent use of my English degree and I'm sure it pays heaps of money. 

    Also, I must know: do you prefer cranky old people to preschoolers? I'm not saying I don't LIKE preschoolers, I'd just rather WORK with the old folks. You know, like lead a group of chair-bound white-haired wrinkled people in song instead of roly poly adorable three-year-olds. And I do too get to compare these groups because neither one can remember the words. 

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    Comments

    Having lived here with my grandmother (crotchety old lady FOR SURE. Also mean.) I think I'm probably better dealing with the old ladies.

    Without a doubt, you and EJ would be the highlight of the week if you started visiting old ladies. Be prepared - everyone will be clammoring to squeeze and hold her. I've been told on multiple occasions (from random strangers) that old women's arms literally ACHE to hold babies.

    I used to lean to the elderly crowd myself, I loved living with my grandmother during my college summers and our weekly dinner dates during the school year.

    But lately I've grown an affinity for the 2-3-4-year-old group. I'm not crafty, but I love reading aloud picture book after picture book after picture book....until my voice gets hoarse.
    When I heard our school is in need of a library manager I nearly jumped at the chance. Being in charge of the book inventory, and keeping books in their proper place is something I would be good at.

    The only problem is I have a roly poly 9-month-old who requires my attention at present. And I know all too well her page-ripping prowess.

    I think I must be a three. I know this isn't a post about threes, but your comment about " I'm GREAT at chatting when I'm not worried the other person won't like me!" was like looking in a mirror.

    Anyway, I think I'd rather hang with the toddlers, although I question whether my energy level could keep up (spoiler: it wouldn't).

    Oh my gosh. Preschoolers!

    I actually look forward to doing children's church! Love it. Even the difficult kids who do naughty things!

    I used to dread participating in nursing home ministry. I felt like I had nothing to offer.

    definitely old people.

    Maggie, honestly, this could be career. I bet a nursing home would snap you up as activities coordinator if you were interested.

    One of my favorite parts of my job is talking to people, especially older people, about their lives. Everyone has a story to tell.

    I love both. I worked in a Nursing Home through high school & college (in the kitchen, but still...I got to deliver them their meals.) And then was a preschool teacher up until I had kids. The only benefit to working in preschool vs nursing home is that you wouldn't have to work holidays...(which is why I chose a career in preschool. Good reasoning, right??)

    Nursing home residents and toddlers both move slowly, which frustrates me a LOT, but with the kid you can pick them up and get a move on.

    Although, I do love listening to life stories and the toddler ones rarely make sense.

    I think there is a special place in heaven for preschool teachers AND those who willingly visit lonely old people. The younger set drive me BONKERS and the older people depress me. I mean, at some point in their lives, they must have been active, with friends and family and something to do. And now they are feeble and weak and don't remember a lot and no one comes to visit them? So sad. Probably why I make it a point to visit my grandma every week, whether I want to or not.

    Old people, hands down.

    I only really like my own kid now. That makes me assy. I KNOW. But with other kids you have to worry about what their parents think about what you're doing and I'm SO OVER THAT. (Sorry. Bitter about working with high schoolers over here. ;))

    Me? I'd love to volunteer with refugee resettlement.

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