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Great memories created during a spontaneous resident visit

November 7, 2011
by Kathleen Mears
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On a sunny day several weeks ago when the weather was still in the low 70s, my sister called to see if I wanted a visitor. Despite throbbing sinuses and a headache, I felt going out would make me feel better. I knew she was excited to visit.

After she arrived it took longer than usual for the aides to get me ready. When I have a visitor waiting, I stress. But my sister was unfazed. We headed out and she asked where we could have lunch outdoors. Of the two possibilities, we decided on a “wing place.”

I felt conspicuous weaving through the restaurant's outdoor, wrought iron tables. I would have gladly sat under the eave of the building, but my sister wanted to sit in the full sun.

After we finished our quite spicy chicken lunch we went for a walk in the strip mall. As we neared a pet store my sister suggested we go in. I had not been in a pet store since I have lived in nursing homes. I knew they bought from puppy mills and I felt righteous not visiting them.

But as we entered the store I saw bright eyed puppy faces looking at us from behind glass windows. An attendant handed my sister a fuzzy Maltese, which she held up to my face. After that, I was into it and we got almost every small puppy out. It felt good to enjoy the happiness of a warm puppy.

In the remaining minutes of our outing we dashed into our favorite discount store to look around. As usual, I headed in one direction and my sister in the other, and then we met a few minutes later.

After my sister left I was pleased with the great day we had. Even though my stomach rumbled from the spicy lunch, I loved the wonderful memories we created. My sister loves to experience life by doing memorable things, whether great or small. Again, she had made the day unforgettable with her last minute plans.

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- it has been shown that our brains respond well to novel events and challenges - and holding the puppy filled your brain (literally) with good chemicals that made you feel good according to the book "The Brain that Changes Itself" which explains it much more eloquently than I can. A really good read that confirms it is never too late to learn new skills.
Thanks for your column Kathleen I look forward to reading it week - as it provides an insiders view of life in a nursing home!
Cheers Ralph

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...