#13 and #38
This week, after crossing “Leave flowers on a stranger’s doorstep” off my “Kind Acts & Volunteering” bucket list, I decided it would be flower week. Another item on this bucket list was to hand out flowers at a nursing home and to make sure that I got enough for everyone.
After thinking about it, I wasn’t sure if there were policies on bringing real flowers into a nursing home or if some of the residents might have bad allergies, so I decided it would be best to buy fake flowers, which I think are often equally pretty and last forever. I know my mom enjoys buying fake flowers a lot more than real ones!
I drove to the dollar store and picked up several bouquets of red (for the males, or females, who like that color, I figured) and pink (for the females) flowers. In total, the flowers came to about $11, which I know is not a lot of money, but I hoped that I would be able to hand out enough for everyone.
I initially planned on handing them out that day, but it was already around 4:00 p.m. and I ran into a bit of a problem. Although I brought scissors with me to snip the bouquets into individual flowers, I didn’t realize that the fake stems were made of metal. I accomplished cutting one flower off, but realized that cutting the rest would take forever.
Luckily, when my dad got home later, I asked him if he had anything that would better be able to cut metal and he said he did in the garage, then helped me cut off all the flowers.
That night, I was actually able to use a few as a mini going away gift for one of my best friends who left for London/Wales to spend the rest of the summer with her boyfriend who lives in London and then to attend a university in Wales for the year via a study abroad program. Our parents, guys we’ve dated, etc, have always joked and called us each others girlfriends, since we are often together so much, so I figured the flowers would be the perfect ironic gift for the occasion! I also made her a card.
The next day, I looked up nursing homes who might have the same or a smaller number of residents than the amount of flowers I had, though I figured if I couldn’t find one, I could just buy more flowers. I called one nursing home nearby that seemed to be a match and asked what their visitor policies were and if it would be okay to come in half an hour. The activities director, who also said she had gone to my college, wound up being really nice & said it would be perfect timing, since the residents would just be leaving a show in which an Elvis impersonator came there.
Although I have a GPS, she explained to me that there was a detour near the nursing home and gave directions, which I wish I had listened to better; I’m bad at directions as it is, but figured I’d be fine with a GPS. Yet she was right that it got a little complicated. The GPS continued to direct me in the place cars weren’t allowed to drive (duh! I should’ve thought of that) and then it began torrentially down pouring so hard that it was difficult to see the road.
Eventually the down pouring stopped and I was able to maneuver around the detour, but I had to apologize for being a little late!
It was such a nice feeling seeing how grateful the residents were for their flowers and the activities director told me they don’t get a lot of visitors often, so it was the perfect treat for a rainy day. Even if she was just being kind, it was a really great feeling. One woman with a lovely Italian accent kept asking, “You brought these for ME? These are really for ME? Why thank you! Thank you!” It really made my day.
A few years back, I olunteered at an adult day care center and I remember one time asking my mom if she could come back when she came to pick me up, because we were playing bingo and having a lot of fun. Going back to the nursing home reminded me of how much I enjoyed interacting with the residents and I asked the activities director if they needed volunteers. Even if I don’t get to do it before summer ends, I guess I can also cross #13, spend time in a nursing home, off my bucket list for now, but I definitely hope to go back there.
So has anyone else had a similar volunteering experience or want to add this one to his or her bucket lists? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Oh! And just a reminder that I’m hosting an August giveaway right now, so if you want to enter to win some prizes, please check out the “August Giveaway” page, or the post two down from this one 🙂