To reactivate this blog that we created nearly a decade ago, I took a look back at my most recent experience.
It was there where I found the inspiration that led me to develop a section dedicated to the elderly among the services provided by my company, and that encouraged me to create the “Observatory of Active Ageing” in Linkedin
How could this time that I spent with you at the care home that I ran for three years not leave its mark?
In my most recent experience, which I am now taking a step further, are the smiles of all of you in those trips we took. The Ribeira Sacra is the birthplace of my “heroine”, as I affectionately called the lady that arrived to the catamaran using a walker and grabbing the arm of the nursing assistant. She came to all the places we visited until one day I had to stand up to her and tell her “no, you can’t go there” when she insisted on going up to one of the castles. Do you remember when you tried to convince me by saying that you felt very safe when you grabbed the arm of the nursing assistant that was travelling with us? And later that night you all looked so satisfied when you arrived to the care home and said “we are exhausted, but so happy!”
And do you remember when we shared mussels on the boat around Ria de Arousa, while cooling ourselves off with some Albariño? We really needed it after singing our hearts out! We even formed a conga line while dancing and singing in the boat. How can I forget the great satisfaction I felt when you smiled and joked with one another like that? Even the lady that refused to come with us because “she couldn’t” smiled… all of you, the staff and I knew that she could…and she did! With the help of everyone.
But it was not just about our excursions, it was also about seeing how by encouraging you to exercise you regained muscle tone, seeing how excited you got when you argued over the articles you wrote for our newspaper, and how you complained to the maintenance man because he had not planted the flowers the way you thought it was best for them to grow stronger and more beautiful. It was the advice book written by a blind lady, in huge print, which she kindly put in my hands, the poem that another lady wrote and gave to me along with some exquisite canned mussels, giggling like a little girl and saying that she knew that there had been some cannery owners in my family. How many touching moments that taught me about everything you could offer, the life you had ahead of you, everything you could teach us!
Yes, with you I learned through experience what science is starting to demonstrate, that human brain cells are flexible enough, throughout our whole lives, to create new connections and that activities such as learning a foreign language, music or dance stimulate these new connections. I had the privilege to witness what science has demonstrated, because you trusted me enough to share it with me. I will always be grateful for that.
I must confess that all the work and concerns that came with the organisation of these trips, the necessary supervision during the excursions and the efforts we put into arranging other activities quickly vanished when I saw your faces shining with joy. Every time I looked at you I saw the little girl that each of you once were, who still lives in all of you when you do something you enjoy. All my hard-working team and collaborators who made these activities possible were just as satisfied when they saw you, we did a good job! I want the relaunch of this blog to be a tribute to all of you, to what you have taught me, to that endless list of moments that inspired me to want to continue building memories in the lives of the elderly.
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