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Sep 1, 2007

Nursing Home News -- September 2007


Did I ever tell you about the time I saved Parklands Nursing Center $500,000?  The date was May 2nd, 2004, and Parklands was actually called the “Alachua Nursing Center” back then.  I went to ANC with a box of Ritz Crackers that day, for a resident named Elijah Brown.  He hadn’t been doing very well lately (wasn’t eating much), and I wanted to fatten him up a bit. 


Anyway, I intended to just drop off the crackers and leave.  I found Mr. Brown in the dining room, and he only took about half the box, so I was just going to take the rest of them home.  I was about to walk out the door when I saw another resident named Mitch coming down the hall, yelling at the top of his lungs.  It was clear he was mad about something big time. 


Hmmm. The moment of truth.  My inner conversation went something like this – “I have 100 more important things to be doing right now.  I can sneak out the door; it doesn’t look like he’s seen me yet.  Ok, just for a minute, let me see what’s troubling him.”


Well, as I should have expected,  I got to say no more than “hello,” when Mitch started into a 15 minute laundry list of all the things he’s mad about.  If my memory serves me correctly, he didn’t take a breath the whole time.  The list included:

·        A certain nurse doesn’t treat him right. 

·        His favorite Gator shirt got stolen.

·        The food is horrible (a common complaint at any nursing home). 

·        And how can they treat him like that when he’s the “Big Boss Man” around there! 


Like any good preacher, he ended his sermon with an admonition: “COME MONDAY, I’M GONNA SUE THEM FOR HALF A MILLION DOLLARS, AND THEY’LL BE SORRY THEY MESSED WITH ME!!!”.  Well, I couldn’t much think of what to tell him, so I just said I was sorry all those things happened, and I would help him look for his shirt next time I came by.


Suddenly I noticed Mitch eyeing the box of crackers.  He stuck out his hand.  Like the savvy businessman I am,  I seized the opportunity to strike a deal --  “Now Mitch,  if I give you these crackers, you have to promise not to sue.”  He thought about it and agreed, we shook hands, he accepted the crackers, and went on his way. 


And Parklands STILL doesn’t appreciate me!


In any case, this random incident caused me to reflect on friendship a little.  There are two elements of true friendships.  The first is “being there” for each other, sometimes at the least convenient times.  There used to be a sit-com called “Friends” on NBC.  I never saw an episode where Chandler had to bribe Phoebe with a box of crackers (those of you with the DVD boxed set can check for me).  But of the episodes I have seen, the common thread is that, they are always there for each other in the end, no matter what.  If we’re going to talk about true friendships with nursing home residents, we need to remember that sometimes our friends ask us to drop everything and be there for them.


The second element of true friendship is honesty.  Here’s a great story that one of our volunteers, Diane, told me about the resident she visited, named Linnie.  She wrote this several years ago but I’ve saved it and look back at it often:


"My favorite memory is about Linnie’s pound cake recipe. She was legendary for this recipe, and I tried it and brought her some the second time I ever visited. I didn't put enough butter in it and it was pretty awful. I couldn't believe it needed so much butter!  It took her about 6 months to tell me that it was the worst thing she ever ate, and we have laughed about it ever since. I told her that I never should have doubted her. After that, we  promised always to be honest with each other.  I really valued that quality of our relationship."


So there you have it – “being there” and “honesty”.  If we get those two elements right, our friendships at the nursing home are destined for success.  Without them, we can put on a good act, but true friendship will never be there.




Monday, September 10th, 2:30 – 4PM -- Casino Time! – A monthly event at Parklands Nursing and Rehab -- At 2:30 there will be a bingo game.  Once we are finished with Bingo, we really up the stakes and move on to Blackjack!  The residents will be playing for “Bingo Bucks” and prizes.


Tuesday, September 11th,  10AM – 1PM – UF Volunteer Fair – Come say hi to Steve and Allison at the UF Volunteer Fair, held at the Reitz Union Colonnade.  

Wednesday, September 12th, 10AM – 2PM – OUTING – The new Activity Director at Parklands Nursing and Rehab, Marcia-Lynn, is planning an outing to Wal-Mart for the residents, and we will need all the volunteers we can get.  At the request of the residents we are going to the WalMart on 13th Street this time, and we are expecting to have about 10-12 residents picked up by wheelchair accessible transportation buses. We need YOUR help if you are available at that time.  Lunch will be provided for all volunteers.  You can either meet us at the nursing home at 10AM, or at Wal-Mart around 10:15 or 10:30.  To be involved you MUST RSVP by replying to this email or calling us at 381-1117, because we need to know how many volunteers we’ll have.  If we don’t have enough volunteers, some residents may not be able to go.

Thursday, September 27th, 3-4PM -- Birthday celebration -- Help us wish a happy birthday to all residents of Parklands Nursing and Rehab with birthdays in September. Meet us in the dining room where we will have singing and cake. Volunteers are needed to help gather the residents together, serve the cake, sing, clean up, etc.  Do you play an instrument or have some other talent?  We are always looking for new entertainment for the party – let us know!




Remember, be sure to check above to find out the nursing home at which an event will be held.  Directions to all the nursing homes can be found at:

All events are open to everyone (children are welcome at most events, please inquire). If you've never been to a nursing home before, feel free to reply to this email and let the coordinators (Steve and Allison Blay) know what events you'll be attending, so they will be looking for you. You can also call them at 381-1117. 

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