Christmas spirit in the nursing home

I was introduced to the Caritas volunteering programme about a month ago, where I started to go with my university classmates.

Once our volunteer coordinator, Gyöngyi, introduced us the volunteering opportunities, many of us were immediately interested in the activities at the nursing home in Valea Izvoarelor, as we wanted to make the residents’ grey weekdays more interesting and to take them out of the monotony.

There are ten of us, so we decided to go there twice a month on weekends, one weekend for one team and the other weekend for the other team. At first, I was a bit afraid that I would not be able to find a common topic of conversation with the seniors, as there is a big generation gap between us, but to my surprise these conversations were very pleasant and useful, it was very nice to have them so communicative and open towards us.

As we approach Christmas, the last time we went there was all about getting in the mood for the holiday season. We wanted to bring a little coziness into the home. We were delighted to see that our craft ideas were very well received. Of course, there were some people who were not able to join the crafts because of their health condition, but they also came to talk with us, as they are in great need of new company, so in this way I encourage everyone to join our team.

To mark the occasion, we made them an Advent calendar, in which we wrote a short poem or encouraging quote for each day, to add to the Advent anticipation. What I personally liked very much was that not only we wrote in the calendar, but they also wrote their favorite quotes and prayers. My favorite moment was when one of the aunties didn’t want to join us at first, she was just quietly watching the proceedings, so I went over to ask her why she didn’t want to join the session, and she said she certainly couldn’t do this and didn’t want to spoil it. Then I took a piece of paper to her and showed her what to do. As a result of my encouragement, she got up to make thirteen snowflake ornaments on her own. I was very happy; it was a real sense of achievement for me.

Finally, we decorated the corridors and living room with decorations they had made, which they were obviously very happy about. “One is more beautiful than the other” – they said. Overall, I think our goal was achieved and we made this time of the year a little bit nicer for them, which made us all happier in this Advent season. We’ll do crafts next time too, but what I think is really important for them, no matter what we do, is the attention given by us.

Written by: Kinga Orbán volunteer
Translated by: Orsolya Barabás

Our activities were supported by the Bethlen Gábor Foundation. Thank you!